Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mayor Says Controversial Monuments Will GoBreaking News
tags: memorials, New Mexico, Native American history
In a trend that has marked Black Lives Matter-inspired events across the country, several armed members of right wing vigilante groups attended the rally in Albuquerque to ostensibly guard against looting and destruction of property. Social media has played a role in spreading rumors that have unified vigilante groups to respond to so-called violent antifa activists descending on communities.
According to Nick Estes, assistant professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and co-founder of The Red Nation, an organization dedicated to Native liberation, several heavily armed members of the militia group New Mexico Civil Guard, showed up to protect the statue.
“Armed militia were pushing people who were trying to topple the statue; the man who shot the protestor first sprayed the crowd with pepper spray,” said Estes, Lower Brule Sioux.
“After the protester was shot, members of the Guard held us at gunpoint until police arrived,” he said.
Steven Ray Baca, 31 was arrested and jailed for allegedly shooting Scott Williams, who survived but remains hospitalized.
It is not clear if Baca is a member of the Guard.
Tension between Albuquerque protesters and armed militia groups have escalated recently, according to Estes. He reported that several armed men followed him and other members of the Red Nation to their office and pulled a gun on them June 5 when they tried to enter the building. “He told us he was making sure we weren’t breaking in; I told him this is our office,” he said.
The mayor’s decision to remove the Kit Carson monuments and the Don Diego De Vargas statue was announced shortly after members of the Three Sisters Collective, a coalition of Indigenous women advocating for Indigenous rights, released an open letter inviting Webber and City Council to attend a peaceful gathering Thursday calling for the removal of the monuments.
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