San Francisco’s archbishop said the “toppling and defacing” of a statue of St Junipero Serra and other statues in the city’s Golden Gate Park is the latest example of some people using the current movement against racial injustice as a reason for violence, looting and vandalism.
“The memorialisation of historic figures merits an honest and fair discussion as to how and to whom such honour should be given,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. “But here, there was no such rational discussion; it was mob rule, a troubling phenomenon that seems to be repeating itself throughout the country.”
The Mercury News daily newspaper reported that on the night of 19th June, a group of about 100 protesters toppled the Serra statue as well as statues of Francis Scott Key and President Ulysses S. Grant and defaced a monument to Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes, author of Don Quixote.
‘Police were called to the area just after 8pm, and said people in the group threw objects at the officers. The crowd dispersed around 9:30pm with no arrests or reports of injuries,’ according to the paper.
The protesters’ action are being repeated around the country as demonstrators in a number of US cities topple statues of Confederate generals and other figures from US history that they consider monuments to white supremacy.
“What is happening to our society?” asked Archbishop Cordileone. “A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism.”
Picture: A vandalised statue of St Junipero Serra in San Francisco is seen on 19th June 2020. The Spanish Franciscan founded several missions in what is now California. (CNS photo/David Zandman via Reuters).