A man was shot and wounded on Monday during a protest near a museum in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, police said.
Demonstrators were reported to be trying to tear down a sculpture of a 16th-century Spanish conquistador.
A police spokesman in Albuquerque said the man was taken to a local hospital in “unknown condition” and that officers “are securing the scene.”
The Albuquerque Journal newspaper reported that the shooting erupted during a clash between protesters trying to pull down a statue of Juan de Onate and several heavily armed members of a civilian militia group called the New Mexico Civil Guard.
According to the Journal’s account, one man involved in a physical altercation with the protesters appeared to draw a gun and fire five shots after he was pushed onto the street, sending members of the crowd scurrying for cover.
Anti-racism protesters venting anger over last month’s death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, have taken to destroying statutes honouring the US Civil War’s Confederacy, as well as sculptures of imperialists, conquistadors and other historical figures associated with the subjugation of indigenous populations around the world.
The statue at the centre of Monday’s protest in Albuquerque is part of a controversial sculpture called “La Jornada,” which depicts Onate, known for the 1599 massacre of a pueblo tribe, leading a group of Spanish settlers into what is now New Mexico.
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