If you think Mahatma Gandhi sounds like just about the least controversial subject for a statue, well, think again. Davis, Calif., unveiled a statue of the champion for non-violent protest Sunday, and fittingly, things started out peaceful. Then dozens of protesters, some of whom had come from hours away, arrived. "They would like to perpetuate this Hollywood version of Gandhi so you (do not) pay attention to the fact that Americans here are supporting the brutalization of minorities back in India," one protester told KCRA. Added another, "I don't understand why America is supporting him when America stands for freedom and Gandhi is not the ideal person for freedom." The statue was a gift from the Indian government and was unveiled on Gandhi's birthday, the UN's International Day of Non-Violence, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Protesters shouted things like, "Gandhi, Gandhi you can’t hide, you committed genocide." The Bee notes that most of the supporters watching the statue's unveiling were Indian-Americans. The protesters said Gandhi was a racist and a child molester, which KCRA notes "is a narrative that is not supported by mainstream historical scholars." Others called him sexist and said he was a proponent of India's caste system; some have gone so far as to accuse him of genocide and of starting ISIS. The Bee has some background on their accusations, noting that the pedophile comments come from Gandhi's practice of testing his chastity vow by sleeping naked with his teen grandnieces and that even Gandhi's own grandson has admitted that Gandhi was "at times ignorant and prejudiced about South Africa's blacks." Even so, Rajmohan Gandhi has said, his grandfather paved the way for the civil rights movement.