As the crowd gathered, a group threw chains on ropes on the statue, a bronze sculpture officially titled “Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider,” as others took a blowtorch to its base and threw red paint on the statue. They began to pull until the statue rocked from side to side before falling down at 8:51 p.m.
The group then turned to the nearby Abraham Lincoln statue, pulling it to the ground at 8:59 p.m. Spray-painted on the base of the statue was “Dakota 38,” a reference to 38 Dakota men executed after the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, the largest mass execution in a single day in American history.
Afterward, people in the crowd began smashing windows at the Oregon Historical Society, unfurling a banner that read, “Stop honoring racist colonizer murderers.” A mural on the attached Sovereign Hotel building depicting the Lewis & Clark expedition was splattered with red paint.
The crowd then moved through downtown, breaking windows and destroying a sign at the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office and other buildings.
Police did not apparently intervene in time to save the statues or protect the museum.
The protest appeared timed for the eve of Columbus Day, which is observed in some parts of the U.S. on Monday.