George Floyd protests: Man shot in clash over Albuquerque statue

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The man was shot after vigilantes and protesters clashed

A man has been shot and wounded in the US state of New Mexico after violence erupted over a statue of a 16th-Century Spanish colonist.

It happened when a second man opened fire after being turned upon by protesters trying to pull the statue down in Albuquerque, local reports say.

The protesters had been confronted by a group of armed men as they tried to pull the statue down.

It comes amid heightened sensitivities over monuments linked to colonialism.

A number have been pulled down in the US and other countries in the wake of the death in police custody of African American George Floyd last month.

Mr Floyd’s killing by a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes has spurred global protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stun grenades

According to the Albuquerque Journal, clashes broke out when protesters took a pick-axe to the statue of Juan de Oñate – part of a monument outside Albuquerque Museum – after a peaceful demonstration on Monday night.

The paper says a man was pushed to the ground and started shooting when protesters moved towards him, “some threatening him”.

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It says the person who was shot appeared to have been one of those attempting to get to the man. The shooting sent people running for cover.

Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said officers at the scene fired tear gas and stun grenades as they detained a number of people.

The wounded man was taken to hospital but his condition was not immediately known, Mr Gallegos said.

In recent days, statues of Confederate leaders – those from a group of southern states that fought to keep black people as slaves in the American Civil War of 1861-65 – and the explorer Christopher Columbus have been torn down in the US, as pressure grows on authorities to remove controversial monuments.

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