Several shots were fired leaving one man wounded at a protest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, as activists toppled the statue of a Spanish conquistador.
What are the details?
The Albuquerque Journal reported that a crowd gathered in front of the Albuquerque Museum to pull down a statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate, noting that “the shooting occurred during a clash between individuals trying to take down the controversial sculpture and five or six heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, who were trying to protect the monument.”
Video footage taken by KOB-TV reporter Megan Abundis shows the moment when four shots can be heard as activists attempt to pull down the statue. Follow-up footage shows a man being treated at the scene, and loaded into an ambulance. The Albuquerque Police Department confirmed that a male was shot during a protest and transported to a hospital.
The shooting occurred during a fight between a man in a blue shirt and people trying to pull down the statue, the Journal reported. The man was pushed onto the street, pulled a can of mace from his pocket and sprayed it. Then, the man in the blue shirt appeared to have pulled a gun and fired several shots, wounding one.
People ran for cover amid screams, while the victim was lying in the middle of the intersection, the outlet reported.
“Somebody got shot,” one person yelled, the paper said.
The New York Times reported that the statue of Oñate, a 16th-century colonial governor, “has become the latest target in demonstrations across the country aimed at righting a history of racial injustice.”
The Times further explained the history behind the controversy over Oñate, reporting:
The agitation against honoring Oñate reflects a tension that has long festered between Native Americans and Hispanics over Spain’s conquest more than four centuries ago, with protests this year over police violence unleashing a broader questioning of race relations in this part of the West.
Oñate’s period as governor was marked by a violent repression considered severe even by the standards of his time. He killed 800 Indigenous people in Acoma Pueblo and ordered his men to cut off the foot of at least 24 male captives. Spanish authorities convicted him on charges of excessive violence and cruelty, permanently exiling him from New Mexico.