Protester, Senior Citizen Fight During Removal of Columbus Statue

A protester and a senior citizen fought Wednesday during the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue in New Haven, Connecticut.

Footage posted on LiveLeak shows a protester striking an older man on the head with a megaphone, knocking the senior to the ground. The protester, who wore a T-shirt reading "White Lives Matter Too Much," was then chased away by those on site defending the statue, before the protester ultimately stood behind police officers who were present.

One person from the crowd who was angry at the protester for his attack can be heard yelling "Now you want the cops...when it's good for you now you want them," as police stood between the crowd and the attacker.

A person tossed the megaphone in the direction of the police, saying, "He hit the [expletive] guy with it," as authorities escorted the protester to the edge of the park. The footage did not show police detain the protester or assist the senior who was attacked.

Prior to the incident, the protester, along with another person holding a sign, was confronted by those who did not want the statue removed because of its importance to Italian Americans, according to footage recorded by the New Haven Independent. When one man tried to take the sign away, a confrontation ensued, in which the senior can be seen hitting the protester in the back of the head, which led to the protester using his megaphone against the senior.

After he was led to the park's edge, the protester was told by an officer he was "causing everything" at the scene. The comment prompted the protester to say he was there to take a stand for what he believes in, asking the officer: "What did you do about getting that man's information that punched me in the back of my head?"

Newsweek reached out to the New Haven Police Department to ask whether any charges resulted from the incident, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

City officials decided to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from Wooster Square Park Wednesday, which attracted crowds who were both for and against the statue's removal. Cheers were heard as the statue was pulled out of its post and onto a flatbed truck.

Authorities said that 40 to 50 people showed up to the site at around 6 a.m. to defend the statue, according to a report by WVIT News. One person against the removal told the local news station: "It's a relic of New Haven and this is actually an outrage."

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement the decision to remove the statue "was spearheaded by a group of leaders in the Italian community."

"I want to take a moment to thank those leaders for their support in recognizing the history of colonialism and its negative effects on many cultures, and their help to identify a place where the statue can reside," Elicker said.

This story has been updated with a headline that more accurately reflects the article as both the protestor and the senior citizen struck one another.

Christopher Columbus Statue
The Christopher Columbus statue at Central Park on June 15, 2020 in New York City. Crowds clash in New Haven, Connecticut during the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue in Wooster Square Park. Rob Kim/Getty