Black trans lives matter protesters and cops came to blows Thursday night after the protesters apparently sprayed a statue near Columbus Circle – and at the entrance of Central Park – with anti-cop graffiti and red paint resembling blood.
A group of hundreds of protesters were seen marching through Manhattan on Thursday, apparently under the banner of black trans lives, before vandalizing a statue in Columbus Circle and clashing with police during a chaotic melee.
It’s not clear what kicked off the chaotic scene. Police regularly patrol the area because it’s near Central Park, near a statue of Christopher Columbus that has become a lightening rod among some and also near the Trump International Hotel.
The NYPD wouldn’t provide specifics when asked by DailyMail.com for details on what happened, saying they were still gathering details from officers on the scene. At least two people had been arrested early Friday.
Several protesters were seen brawling with NYPD officers while others threw an unidentified liquid at them, video shows. One protester was seemingly heard on video attempting to spit on cops.
‘What the f**k is wrong with you?’ one person on the video screams at police as officers grabbed protesters.
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Protesters were seen brawling with NYPD officers in Columbus Circle near Central Park on Thursday
Protesters and cops were seen shoving and punching each other during the massive fight
Police and protesters are seen during a large fight that broke out during a black trans lives matter protest in Manhattan
A person is seen facing off with a cop in an NYPD baseball cap during a fight near Central Park
A person is seen shining a flash light on a protesters and police as they faced off during the brawl
The person appears to fall to the ground during the fight while a wall of NYPD officers watch
A person that appears to be a protester is seen on the ground underneath a group of police officers
The NYPD said on Thursday that at least two people had been arrested during the protest
Protesters were seen on videos posted to Twitter defacing the USS Maine National Monument at a gateway to Central Park
PGraffiti on the USS Maine monument included the text ‘Stonewall was a riot,’ ‘ACAB’ and ‘F**k 12’ – a reference for police
The protesters and cops were seen shoving and punching each in the brawl while one protester fell to the ground.
Video shows officers trying to arrest a protester and crowding around a cab as the woman tried to flee. Other protesters tried to block their move. It is unclear whether an arrest was made.
Dozens of police officers were seen carrying zip ties in the aftermath – and the department tweeted it was trying to ‘deescalate the situation’ to prevent further damage.
‘We respect’s everyone right to peacefully protest, but vandalism is not part of peaceful protest. We are working to de-escalate the situation to prevent further damage from occurring,’ the NYPD tweeted.
The protest was part of weekly ‘Stonewall Protests’ – which according to its Instagram are ‘demonstrations by black queer and black trans activists centered on the acknowledgment of all black life.’
An NYPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com that at least two people had been arrested in Columbus Circle for the protest, though did not have their charges immediately available.
Protesters were seen carrying a banner that reads ‘Justice for Ma’Khia Bryant’
The march was a part of the Stonewall Protests, which happen weekly in support of ‘all black lives’
A group of hundreds of protesters were seen marching through Manhattan on Thursday before vandalizing a statue in Columbus Circle
Protesters were seen carrying a banner after the shooting death of Ma’Khia Bryant
An NYPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com that at least two people had been arrested in Columbus Circle for the protest
Protesters are seen gathered at the Stonewall Inn, the city of violent riots that led to equality for many in the LGBTQ community
Hundreds of protesters had gathered for the march before it made its way to Central Park
Many of the marchers on Thursday carried pride flags after gathering on Christopher Street
A woman speaks into a microphone during a march for ‘all black lives’ in Manhattan on Thursday
Protesters were seen carrying signs that read ‘Justice for Ma’Khia Bryant’ before vandalizing the USS Maine National Monument and clashing with police, referring to the 16-year-old girl who was shot by Columbus, Ohio police earlier this week.
Though the protest ended in Columbus Circle, the protesters did not appear to have vandalized a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus also located in the area.
Earlier this year, police were revealed to be still guarding that statue around the clock while displays of Confederate symbols or other figures deemed racist have been taken down or toppled across America in recent months.
The USS Maine National Monument, was was targeted, created in 1912, is dedicated to the men who were on board the ship when it exploded in Havana harbor in 1898, contributing to the onset of the Spanish-American War.
Graffiti on the USS Maine monument included the text ‘Stonewall was a riot,’ ‘ACAB’ and ‘F**k 12’ – a reference for police. The phrase ACAB stands for ‘All Cops Are Bas***ds.’
The group had started marching near the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, the site of a series of violent riots that led to the advancement of equality for the LGBTQ community.
The protesters were seen marching from the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street to Central Park
People claimed on Twitter that the NYPD started arresting protesters after a majority had already dispersed
On their way to Columbus Circle, marchers stopped by The New York Times building in Midtown.
Video taken by journalist Leeroy Johnson shows the protesters chanting ‘F**k The New York Times’ outside of the building.
‘Prior to this vandalism they were sharing some points many people can agree on,’ the advocacy group AntifaWatch tweeted.
The Twitter account Protest NYC claimed that the group had participated in a ‘night of peaceful protesting’ before the massive brawl.
‘NYPD waited for most protesters to leave, and then swarmed those remaining on the sidewalk. Police targeted organizers,’ the account claimed.
‘Over 200 police surrounded the park where the peaceful protest against police violence had already dispersed to arrest organizers.’
The Stonewall protest also came after the larger March on Broadway which started at Columbus Circle earlier in the day before proceeding towards Times Square and the theater district.
Who was Christopher Columbus and why is he so divisive?
Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506)
Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506) born in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy), was a 15th century navigator who began European incursions into the Americas. Native American activists believe the navigator was responsible for centuries of indigenous genocide.
Like Aristotle and others, Columbus believed that the world was round. He theorized that the distance between Spain’s Canary Islands and Japan was only around 2,300 miles (3,701 kilometers) and felt he could sail west to reach Asia for a new sought-out route for spices. It was really about 12,000 miles (19,321 kilometers). Columbus based his incorrect calculations on mystical texts, and ended up landing in the present-day Caribbean on Oct. 12, 1492.
Columbus convinced Spain’s Queen Isabella to fund his voyage by promising that the riches he’d collect would be used to finance a crusade to ‘reclaim’ Jerusalem for Christians. Instead, he found new foods, animals and indigenous people who, he wrote, were childlike and could be easily turned into slaves.
As indigenous populations revolted against brutal Spanish treatment, Columbus ordered a ruthless crackdown that included having dismembered bodies being paraded in public. Eventually, Columbus was arrested on mismanagement and brutality charges and died soon after.
Around 60 years after Columbus’ arrival, the Taino indigenous population of the Caribbean had been reduced from an estimated 250,000 people to a few hundred because of slavery and death from new diseases.
However for many Italian Americans the Italian explorer continues to be an important symbol in their heritage.
Millions of Italian immigrants traveled across the Atlantic to Ellis Island in New York to start a new life in America in the late 1880s to 1920s.
They faced xenophobia and prejudice, including one of the largest single mass lynchings in American history when 11 were murdered in 1891 in New Orleans.
The Italian explorer thereby became a cultural hero for Italian immigrants to hold on to during this time and Columbus Day parades began in the late 1800s.