Statue of missionary toppled in LA Indigenous protest
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A statue of a Spanish missionary in downtown Los Angeles has been toppled by Indigenous demonstrators.
The Los Angeles Times reports the statue of Father Junipero Serra in Father Serra Park was brought down June 19 by Indigenous activists who shouted and drummed as it flew off its pedestal. No police were present at the time.
The 18th century Roman Catholic priest founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment.
Statues of Serra have been defaced in California for several years by people who said he destroyed tribes and their culture.
Demonstrators in San Francisco pulled down a statue to Serra with ropes on June 18, while statues on the East Coast honoring Confederates who tried to break away from the United States were toppled. The incidents occurred amid demonstrations against racism following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd in May.