DENVER — Police in Denver have arrested one person for suspected arson after a small group of protesters attempted to set fire to the pedestal of a Civil War statue that was toppled last week.
About 75 protesters had been demonstrating peacefully around the Capitol late Saturday night when a small group broke off and went to the statue site, a Colorado State Patrol spokesperson told KUSA_TV.
Just before 11 p.m. a fire was set atop the mostly-concrete pedestal using wood and other materials. the spokesperson said. The Denver Fire Department extinguished the blaze within about 20 minutes and the damage was minimal.
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A 22-year-old suspect was being held on suspicion of second degree arson, according to the Denver Police Department.
The statue, erected in 1909, had been pulled down Thursday. It recognized a Union cavalry regiment that fought Confederate forces but also acknowledged soldiers’ role in an 1864 massacre of Native Americans.
Its toppling came as protesters across the nation have defaced and torn down statues of historic figures during recent demonstrations against racial injustice. Most of those pieces have explicit ties to colonialism, slavery and the Confederacy, including imagery of Christopher Columbus and former U.S. presidents who owned slaves.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has said the Denver statute will be repaired.
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