Protest escalates near Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, some hospitalized

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police clashed with protesters near the large statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park Friday evening.

With police deploying pepper spray on crowds attempting to pull down the statue, the crowd eventually dispersed from the area.

Prior to that moment, protesters were seen throwing bottles and full soda cans at police, while some even shot off fireworks. Multiple officers were reportedly injured, and some were treated at the scene.

The Chicago Fire Department says that at least four members of the crowd were also injured and taken to a hospital in good condition.

Several were arrested at the scene.

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Chopper7 captured the aftermath of a protest near the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park on Friday.

Protesters had initially gathered by Buckingham Fountain for a Black Lives Matter demonstration at around 5 p.m.

The crowd grew to several hundred before making their way to the Columbus statue, which the city had apparently covered in plastic.

The crowd tied at least two ropes to the statue to try to pull it down.

At that point, police tactical units arrived, deploying pepper spray. Several people, both protesters and police, were overcome by the chemical, pouring water into their eyes.

Police are still at the scene late Friday evening, while the statue remains upright.

Some members of the Chicago City Council commented on the protest on Twitter.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said, "Black and Indigenous Chicagoans and people from all across the city came together to do what our so-called progressive mayor refused and failed to do."

Ald. Daniel La Spata said, "Chicago may be the only 'liberal' city willing to brutalize Black and brown youth to protect a symbol of white supremacy."

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