The statue of Christopher Columbus is seen in a lake after it was pulled down by protesters in Richmond, Virginia, June 9, 2020, in this picture obtained from social, June 9, 2020. (Instagram/@Videoguns)
The statue of Christopher Columbus is seen in a lake after it was pulled down by protesters in Richmond, Virginia, June 9, 2020, in this picture obtained from social, June 9, 2020. (Instagram/@Videoguns)

In the U.S. southeastern state of Virginia Tuesday, a statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down by protesters, set on fire and thrown into a lake.

The protesters gathered in the capital city of Richmond’s Byrd Park and called for the statue to be taken down.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper reported a member of the local indigenous person’s society spoke, drawing parallels between the struggles of indigenous people and black people in America.

Video taken at the scene shows a crowd gathered around the statue at about dusk. They used ropes to remove the statue from its pedestal, and painted the words “Columbus represents genocide” on the side before throwing it into a lake.

The newspaper reports there was no police presence in the park, but a police helicopter was seen circling the area after the city-owned figure had been torn down.

The Times-Dispatch says the Columbus statue was dedicated in Richmond in December 1927 and had been the first statue of Christopher Columbus erected in the South.

The toppling of the statue comes amid national protests over the death of George Floyd, the African American man who died while in custody of Minneapolis Police last month. The incident sparked international outrage and calls for reforms to address racism in police departments.