LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A statue of Father Junipero Serra at Father Serra Park in downtown Los Angeles was toppled on Saturday.
A day earlier, a different statue of Serra, Francis Scott Key and former President Ulysses S. Grant were overturned in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Serra is recognized as one of the most important Spanish missionaries in the world, but nearly 250 years after establishing his first of nine Catholic missions in California, questions still linger about Serra’s legacy.
According to the Architect of the Capitol, “Serra was ascetic and uncompromising in his zeal to convert the Indians to Christianity and to make his missions self-sufficient.”
Protesters say Serra forced California Native Americans to stay at those missions and accuse him of destroying their tribes and culture.
Over the years, statues and other depictions of Serra have been protested against. In 2017, a picture circulated on Facebook of a Serra statue in a park across from Mission San Fernando spray-painted red and with the word “murder” written on it.
Pope Francis canonized Serra in September 2015.