Protesters have gathered outside the Chicago mayor’s house as she vowed to take down the city’s Christopher Columbus statue as soon as tonight – a move Trump SuperPAC spokesman Steve Cortes blasted as bowing to ‘violent nihilists’.  

Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house as night fell, demanding she defund the Chicago Police Department, as tensions over racism and police brutality continue to mount. 

Chants turned from ‘f*** CPD’ to cheers of elation when someone announced over the microphone that the city is taking the controversial Columbus monument down.

This comes as demonstrators gear up for a surge of federal agents swooping in after President Trump threatened to send in the troops in the wake of a wave of violent crime that has rocked the third largest US city in recent weeks. 

Trump’s law and order takeover is expected to reach Seattle late Thursday as a Special Response Team is being drafted in to stand by for duty in the city, despite local officials saying they don’t want them there.

Officials in Portland are also pushing back against the federal agents, with a judge granting a temporary restraining order Thursday, banning them from arresting legal observers and journalists at protests.

A huge crowd of protesters cheered in celebration Thursday night (pictured) as Chicago announced plans to topple its Christopher Columbus statue as soon as tonight while the city braces for Donald Trump's feds to move in

A huge crowd of protesters cheered in celebration Thursday night (pictured) as Chicago announced plans to topple its Christopher Columbus statue as soon as tonight while the city braces for Donald Trump’s feds to move in

Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's house as night fell

Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house as night fell

Screams and cheers fill the air and protesters are seen jumping in the air in celebration as someone announces the statue will be taken down

Screams and cheers fill the air and protesters are seen jumping in the air in celebration as someone announces the statue will be taken down 

The controversial statue of Christopher Columbus (pictured) in Grant Park - which was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement last week

The controversial statue of Christopher Columbus (pictured) in Grant Park – which was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement last week 

More than 2,000 protesters blocked an intersection outside Mayor Lightfoot’s home Thursday night, waving banners reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice no peace’.  

There was still no sign of federal agents as darkness fell on the peaceful crowd. 

Footage taken soon after 8:30 p.m. local time shows the moment a man announced that the Columbus statue is coming down.

‘I just so happen to find out right now that Lori Lightfoot plans to remove the Christopher Columbus statue,’ he said into a loudspeaker.  

Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's house as night fell

Thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets to march on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house as night fell

Police in riot gear gather in the streets of the city Thursday night

Police in riot gear gather in the streets of the city Thursday night

Protesters gathered demanding the mayor defund the Chicago Police Department, as tensions over racism and police brutality continue to mount

Protesters gathered demanding the mayor defund the Chicago Police Department, as tensions over racism and police brutality continue to mount

Chants turned from 'f*** CPD' to cheers of elation when someone announced over the microphone that the city is taking the controversial Columbus monument down

Chants turned from ‘f*** CPD’ to cheers of elation when someone announced over the microphone that the city is taking the controversial Columbus monument down

Screams and cheers fill the air and protesters are seen jumping in the air in celebration. 

The controversial monument in Grant Park could be taken down as soon as tonight, as the mayor is looking to avoid a repeat of the clashes witnessed between cops and protesters last week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The figure of the colonial explorer – who is seen as a figure of white supremacy – was the center of violent scenes Friday night.

Cops unleashed tear gas on protesters and several were left injured after they attempted to tear down the statue of Columbus.

At least 20 complaints of police brutality were filed against officers following the night’s events.

One activist Miracle Boyd said she had one of her teeth knocked out by a cop when they smacked her in the face. 

Days later, Chicago police released a shocking video showing protesters aiming fireworks and frozen water bottles at officers and announced 49 officers had been injured by ‘criminal agitators’ in the commotion.  

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara was pictured turning up to the Columbus Statue following the announcement wearing an Italia Jacket and slamming Lgihtfoot a 'coward'

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara was pictured turning up to the Columbus Statue following the announcement wearing an Italia Jacket and slamming Lgihtfoot a ‘coward’

SuperPAC spokesman Steve Cortes also condemned the move on social media, slamming Lightfoot as 'feckless' and giving in to 'violent nihilists'

SuperPAC spokesman Steve Cortes also condemned the move on social media, slamming Lightfoot as ‘feckless’ and giving in to ‘violent nihilists’

The figure of the colonial explorer - who is seen as a figure of white supremacy - was the center of violent scenes Friday night (pictured)

The figure of the colonial explorer – who is seen as a figure of white supremacy – was the center of violent scenes Friday night (pictured)  

Police walk around at the site of the covered Columbus statue after protesters attempted to topple it Friday. Police were guarding the monument when they were hit with fireworks, authorities said

Police walk around at the site of the covered Columbus statue after protesters attempted to topple it Friday. Police were guarding the monument when they were hit with fireworks, authorities said

Sources told the Tribune not all Italian-American leaders in Chicago are happy with Thursday’s decision. 

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara was pictured turning up to the Columbus Statue following the announcement wearing an Italia Jacket and slamming Lgihtfoot a ‘coward’. 

SuperPAC spokesman Steve Cortes also condemned the move on social media, slamming Lightfoot as ‘feckless’ and giving in to ‘violent nihilists’. 

‘My Chicago Police sources confirm that our magnificent Christopher Columbus statue will be removed tonight from Grant Park, in the dead of night. Our feckless mayor concedes to the violent nihilists,’ he tweeted

Lightfoot said in June she was opposed to removing the statue in Grant Park as well as one in Little Italy. 

She also previously said she wouldn’t support changing the public holiday Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.   

After news emerged that the statue was coming down, crowds moved to Grant Park.  

Earlier Thursday night, protesters were seen dancing and singing to a version of the YMCA with the words changed to ‘f*** CPD’. 

There was no sign of federal agents in the streets, after Trump deployed 300 officers to Chicago this week. 

In Portland, the standoff between demonstrators and federal agents dragged on another night Thursday – one night after the city’s mayor was tear-gassed in the streets as he made an appearance at protests and told the crowds he wanted the feds out.

Mayor Ted Wheeler was caught on camera coughing and being overwhelmed by the noxious substance Wednesday night, when federal agents deployed the tactic on the crowd.   

People gather during a protest outside the Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse on July 23 in Minneapolis holding banners saying they stand with Portland

People gather during a protest outside the Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse on July 23 in Minneapolis holding banners saying they stand with Portland 

Minneapolis protesters march in solidarity with Portland as officials and protesters in the Oregon city call for the federal agents to leave

Minneapolis protesters march in solidarity with Portland as officials and protesters in the Oregon city call for the federal agents to leave 

A federal judge Thursday banned federal agents from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers at the ongoing Portland protests.  

US Judge Michael Simon previously ruled that journalists and legal observers are exempt from police orders requiring protesters to disperse once an unlawful assembly has been declared.  

The ruling has taken this order further after a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and a freelance photographer covering the protests for The Associated Press submitted an affidavit that he was beaten with batons, chemical irritants and hit with rubber bullets in the city this week. 

While clashes rumble on in Portland, Seattle became the latest city targeted by federal law enforcement – after first Portland then Chicago – after the Trump administration sent in a team of tactical border officers to stand by for duty Thursday.

‘The C.B.P. team will be on standby in the area, should they be required,’ the Federal Protective Service said in a statement about Seattle. 

The move comes in the face of pushback from city officials who say they don’t want feds impacting protests.   

Seattle’s Democrat Mayor Jenny Durkan spoke earlier Thursday with Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, and she said he had assured her there were no plans to send agents into the city. 

‘Any deployment here would, in my view, undermine public safety,’ Durkan said.

Protests have died down in Seattle since cops reclaimed the area around the CHOP zone earlier in the month. 

Officers had abandoned several blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on June 8 following clashes with protesters calling for an end to police brutality.   

The area began as a peaceful autonomous zone but after three fatal shootings, police pushed protesters out of the zone.  

source: dailymail.co.uk

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