Using bolt cutters, one demonstrator knocked a rifle off of the statue. The dedication marker also was taken down. Later, some of the protesters knocked the heads off of all four of the figures.
The protesters gave a sword and rifle they ripped from the monument to 73-year-old Vietnam veteran John Hooks. Hooks was born in Portsmouth but has moved around over the years.
“I’m a mixed bag of emotions,” he said after someone handed him a piece of the monument. “This is where they sold us into slavery.”
Hooks said Wednesday he noticed white, black and Asian people protesting together.
“You’ve kept your foot on our neck for 401 damn years. When are you going to get the hell off?” Hooks said.