PHOTOS: Santa Fe Plaza obelisk torn down by protesters

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A controversial monument in the Santa Fe Plaza was ripped down by protesters on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Originally erected in 1866 to honor Civil War-era soldiers who died in battle and featured a phrase of text that described Native Americans as “savage”. The text was erased from the monument in the 1970s.

Following recent protests and several rounds of vandalism to the monument, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber ordered the removal of three monuments, the Santa Fe Plaza obelisk, a statue of Don Diego de Vargas, and the Kit Carson Obelisk. The Don Diego de Vargas statue has since been removed.

The Plaza obelisk, which is registered as a National Historic Landmark, was attempted to be removed by city crews in June, however, there were fears the monument would be damaged in the process. The City of Santa Fe stated it would then “begin the legal processes for removal”.

Crews then built an eight-foot plywood wall around the 133-foot tall obelisk in the meantime.

On Monday, following three days of protests at the site, demonstrators wrapped ropes around the monument and pulled it down. Two men were arrested during the incident including 24-year-old Sean Sunderland charged with resisting and criminal trespass and 27-year-old Dylan Wrobel, charged with battery on a peace officer and resisting an officer.

Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Law.
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Law.
A line of around 50 demonstrators holds one end of a rope while the other end is secured to a stone obelisk on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In July, activists called for the monument to be removed during peaceful protests. On Monday, a group of around 50 protesters pulled down segments of the memorial, which commemorates federal soldiers who fought against Indigenous people in the 19th Century. A reference to “savage” Indians was chiseled from the monument decades ago. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Demonstrators secure a rope around the centerpiece of a solid stone obelisk before tearing it down on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In July, activists called for the monument to be removed during peaceful protests. On Monday, a group of around 50 protesters pulled down segments of the memorial, which commemorates federal soldiers who fought against Indigenous people in the 19th Century. A reference to “savage” Indians was chiseled from the monument decades ago. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Lawless.
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Law.
Demonstrators celebrate on the base of a stone obelisk torn down Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In July, activists called for the monument to be removed during peaceful protests. On Monday, a group of around 50 protesters pulled down segments of the stone structure using a rope and a chain. It commemorates federal soldiers who fought against Indigenous people in the 19th Century. A reference to “savage” Indians was chiseled from the monument decades ago. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
A demonstrator defaces a monument to federal soldiers using a metal tool on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In July, activists called for the monument to be removed during peaceful protests. On Monday, a group of around 50 protesters pulled down segments of the stone structure using a rope and a chain. It commemorates federal soldiers who fought against Indigenous people in the 19th Century. A reference to “savage” Indians was chiseled from the monument decades ago. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of  Adrianna Vigil 
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of  Adrianna Vigil 
Controversial obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza torn down, Oct. 12, 2020. Photo Courtesy of  Adrianna Vigil 

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