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Hundreds March Through Astoria Wednesday, Demand Christopher Columbus Statue Be Removed

March southward along Shore Boulevard (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

June 18, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

More than 400 protesters marched through Astoria Wednesday evening demanding that the Christopher Columbus statue on Astoria Boulevard be removed.

The protest, led by local group Justice for George Queens, said that the statue is offensive.

The organizers said that Columbus exploited the indigenous populations of the Americas and that public space should not be used to glorify him.

The group, which have organized other protests around Queens for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, met at the Astoria Park World War 1 Memorial on Shore Boulevard at around 5:30 p.m.

Demonstrators spoke to the crowd mainly about the struggles of black women and black trans women. One demonstrator, Mario Scott, read out the names of black trans women who have been killed over the last five years while a man played the violin in the background.

Another demonstrator sang the civil rights song, “Change is Gonna Come,” while the crowd kneeled.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris was in attendance at the memorial although he did not join protesters for the ensuing march.

At around 6:40 p.m. protesters turned their attention to the Columbus statue and began marching southward along Shore Boulevard.

The group was directed by cyclists and chief organizer Trasonia Abbott. Abbott was on foot with a bull horn and led several chants including “indigenous lives matter” and “these racist statues got to go.”

Other chants were focused at the police like “how do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D,” and “how do you spell murderer? N-Y-P-D.”

Protesters carried two large banners that read “black and indigenous solidarity,” and “stop the war on black America.”

Smaller signs read “Columbus = killer,” “black lives matter,” and “enough is enough.”

Other protesters made plenty of noise with drums and tambourines.

The protesters turned left onto Astoria Park South and were cheered on by onlookers while police officers blocked traffic to ensure the safety of the marchers.

The crowd made their way up as far as 31st Street and stopped in front of the Christopher Columbus statue on Astoria Boulevard.

The monument is located at Columbus Triangle, right off the Astoria Boulevard station and bordered by Astoria Boulevard South, Hoyt Avenue South, and 33rd Street. The statue was erected in 1941 but is currently ring-fenced due to on-going road works.

Columbus statues and other monuments across the nation have been in the spotlight recently following the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Critics believe they celebrate racial inequality and have called for the removal of statues.

Abbott told the crowd that Columbus was responsible for the genocide of almost 3 million people in Haiti.

“What are we celebrating?” she asked? “Are we celebrating death?”

The crowd then began calling for the statue to be removed.

Several other speakers took to the microphone and voiced their disgust for colonizers like Columbus.

One protester, who claimed to be of Taino descent – indigenous people of the Caribbean – was well-received by the crowd after he rapped:

“We call for the statue to fall,”

“So raise your fists, because we have a right to an existence,”

“Black Lives Matter.”

Some speakers called for the police and ICE to be abolished while another said she was against the capitalist system.

Musicians were then called upon to sing songs and the event wrapped up at around 8:30 p.m.

Protester sign at WW1 Memorial, Astoria Park, June 17, 2020 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post

Senator Mike Gianaris was in attendance (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A protester holds a sign Columbus = Killer” (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post

Christopher Columbus statue on Astoria Boulevard (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Christopher Columbus statue is ring-fenced due to road works, June 17, 2020 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post (2)

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13 Comments

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#defendthestatue

Columbus died in 1506. If he is ruining your life, you need serious help!

Reply
ABoondy

who do you think is in that crowd? born losers that are unemployable. they better not take away my columbus day off or there will be hell to pay.

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Save the Robots

This crap has gone on long enough. Applying today’s very misguided standards to events 50, 100, even 300 years ago is ridiculous.

Keep it up and there will be nothing left. THIS is fascism.

Get a life, all of you.

Reply
none of your business

Y’all are really dumb! how are you going to protect a statue that represents the land taken from indigenous people through rape and murder by racist white colonizers? how is this specific statue affecting your everyday life… if your answer is “it isn’t” well maybe you should keep your mouth shut bc the same oppression indigenous people experienced bc of columbus and the other colonizers, is the same way minorities are feeling under america’s current society. and don’t you dare bring religion into this you hypocrites… bc we can all see the masks you are wearing saying “amen” in church but then ignoring the bible once you step out. that’s all i have to say period !

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#dumpgianaris

You can always count on Mike Gianaris to do the wrong thing. He has a primary – please get rid of him. He is a puppet of the far, far left and is engaging in anti-Italian stereotypes. He also killed the Amazon deal and has no problem with late term abortions.

Reply
Pun intended

Sorry protestors, the statue of limitations has expired.

Now go get jobs.

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Reply
ABoondy

they are all unemployable. nobody is gonna hire someone with a criminal record. there are very little jobs available, so even a parking ticket will get your resume filed in the trash can.

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Yes, surely

Tearing down a statue that has nothing to do with religion means they’re going to burn down churches.

Trump lovers ACTUALLY believe that 😂

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Tootsies tooters

The people who defend destroying property are ignorant and hateful
They have also probably never worked

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