Statue of Controversial Catholic Saint Toppled in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Protesters toppled the statue of Catholic missionary Junipero Serra in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 19, as the trend to remove figures who were involved in racism, slavery, or subjugation continued across the United States.

Serra founded multiple missions in California in mid-to-late 18th century, and was canonized by Pope Francis in 2015 – a move that was considered controversial as Native Americans reportedly accuse Serra of helping to destroy their culture and allow them to be brutalized.

The same group who toppled the Serra statue also pulled down a nearby statues of Francis Scott Key, a slaveowner best known for writing the lyrics for the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and of Ulysses S. Grant.

Calls have been made for other statues of Serra in California to be removed, on the grounds that he “committed atrocities against Native Americans in the 18th century,” according to local media. Credit: Joe Rivano Barros via Storyful