Demonstrations around the monument– an obelisk discovered in the middle of the city’s Plaza Park that activists state celebrated the killings of Native Americans– started Saturday, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said, when protesters chained themselves on the obelisk.
A crowd swarmed the plaza Monday while city board members held an emergency situation conference, the mayor said, and started taking apart the fence surrounding the monument prior to ruining the obelisk. One individual was jailed for battery on a peace officer and withstanding an officer and a 2nd individual was jailed for withstanding an officer and criminal trespass.
The monument’s damage happened as New Mexico celebrated Indigenous People’s Day
and comes following a summertime of racial numeration and discontent throughout which protesters have taken apart other statues and monoliths honoring questionable figures and racist parts of the nation’s past.
Webber condemned Monday’s violence and said it was”not only a violation of the law, it is a violation of the ties between people in our community.”
“There is no place for people taking the law into their own hands. There is no place for people destroying historic monuments on their own,” Webber said
Monday’s actions come months after the mayor revealed he was requiring the elimination of the monument– together with 2 others– saying
it was “long overdue.”
That remained in June, when Webber said he would develop a commission to examine various monoliths in the city and examine whether “they cause pain” and “tell an honest version of history,” hesaid That commission would choose “how each should be treated,” he had said in a statement.
Responding to the mayor’s June statement, Pueblo of Acoma Governor Brian D. Vallo had said
he was grateful for the choice that consisted of the “the obelisk with an inscription referencing Pueblo people as ‘Savage Indians’ located in the center of the historic plaza.”
“There is absolutely no place for these symbols that glorify the mass killing of our people,” Vallo said in a June statement.
“It is clear that times have changed and there is a new openness to discuss how to better memorialize our shared history in a way that promotes deeper understanding and cooperation. Our Pueblo stands ready to participate in these conversations, and we thank Mayor Webber for his leadership on this matter.”
Following the statue’s damage on Monday, city authorities said in a declaration there were “a variety of legal issues under review” by the city lawyer’s workplace connected to the obelisk.
“Everyone should acknowledge that these situations are complex and the issues we’re engaged with are complicated,” a press release from the city said.
“We know individuals want to be heard. There is work underway to review the legal issues surrounding the removal or preservation of statues and monuments that are in public places. There is also work going on to review different approaches to a task force or working group that can undertake a community-wide discussion around statues and monuments, histories and cultures,” the releasesaid
A suggestion must be coming out quickly, it said.
CNN’s Jenn Selva added to this report.
Story First Appeared on CNN
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