Politics & Government

Protesters of Christopher Columbus 'genocide' climb statue, get arrested at California Capitol

Watch activist detained for covering Christopher Columbus statue at California State Capitol Building

Protesters demanding removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from the rotunda at California's Capitol were arrested Monday, June 4, 2018, authorities say. The protesters were members of the California Poor People's campaign.
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Protesters demanding removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from the rotunda at California's Capitol were arrested Monday, June 4, 2018, authorities say. The protesters were members of the California Poor People's campaign.

Thirteen protesters demanding removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from the rotunda at California's Capitol were arrested Monday, authorities say.

The protesters were members of the California Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, according to the group's Twitter page.

The group was given a permit to assemble near the west steps of the Capitol, according to a California Highway Patrol press release. The permit, which was valid from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., did not allow the group to protest or assemble inside the Capitol.

At about 1:50 p.m., the CHP said, protesters went inside the Capitol.

"During the protest, several members from the group encircled the statue located in the capital rotunda and began to act in an unlawful manner by attempting to climb on the statue in an effort to hang banners and flags," the CHP said.

Videos of protesters climbing the statue and being arrested by officers were posted to the group's Twitter page Monday.

"Police have arrested the first peaceful moral witness. While a statue hailing genocide sits at the center of our capitol, we are removed from the building," the group said on its Twitter page.

The CHP said the 13 protesters were arrested for resisting and delaying a peace officer, disobeying a lawful order and vandalism.

Eighteen protesters were also arrested at the State Capitol at another California Poor People's Campaign demonstration on May 22. Protesters staged a sit-in for six hours and were taken into custody by police after they refused to leave when the Capitol closed at 6 p.m. The group said it had been demanding to talk to Gov. Jerry Brown about criminal justice reform and poverty in California.

The campaign's website says it takes peaceful action to promote awareness of issues like poverty, systemic racism and inequality across the U.S.

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