Christopher Columbus Statues Vandalized in Multiple States on Columbus Day

October 14, 2019 Updated: October 14, 2019

Statues of Christopher Columbus were vandalized in at least two states on Monday.

The nation was celebrating Columbus Day, a federal holiday that honors the Italian explorer.

In Providence, Rhode Island, vandals threw red paint on a Columbus statue at the corner of two intersections.

The paint was cleaned with a power washing by city workers, reported WPRI.

The vandals also left a sign that said “Stop Celebrating Genocide.”

The statue, which was erected in 1893, has been vandalized before, most recently in 2017.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has not yet spoken out about the vandalism. In recent days he’s shared pictures at Italian-American events, including the city’s 28th Annual Columbus Day Festival.

“Providence wouldn’t be the city it is today without its distinct Italian heritage,” he said on Sunday.

A statue in San Francisco, California was also vandalized on Monday, reported ABC 7.

Vandals threw red paint on the statue and sprayed graffiti at the base of the statue that stated “Destroy all monuments of genocide and kill all colonizers.”

Sara Golfieri, who arrived in the city from Italy two days ago, said the paint was disrespectful.

Circa 1500, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Very important and he’s a national hero in Italy because he discovered America,” said Golfieri.

One resident told KRON that what the vandals did was wrong.

“Weird juxtaposition,” a resident said. “And it’s crazy because we’re in this beautiful city, that would never have been possible were it not for our civilization and our country and our armed forces, so we’re surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of our civilization and yet there’s people that just openly hate it.”

Gina Williams added that she understands the message the vandals were trying to send but said the method they used was wrong.

“This was unnecessary,” she said. “These are our tax dollars that have to clean this. You made the mess, do you realize it’s still coming out of your pocket? People don’t think. They just don’t think.”

The San Francisco Police Department said it was investigating and city workers cleaned the statue.

Columbus Day honors the explorer, who led an expedition from Italy in 1492 and discovered America. It also honors Italian-Americans.

“While Columbus sailed from the port of Palos under the Spanish flag, he took pride in the fact that he was a citizen of Genoa, Italy. The celebration of Columbus Day is, therefore, an appropriate opportunity to recognize the more than 16 million Americans who claim Italian heritage and to carry forth the legacy of generations of Italian Americans who helped shape our Nation. The United States greatly values its close bond with Italy, a longstanding friend, ally, and economic partner. Our relationship, built on shared values and a commitment to furthering peace and prosperity, continues to benefit both of our nations,” President Donald Trump said in a proclamation on Friday.

“Columbus’s daring voyage to the New World brought two continents together, enabling a global perspective for the first time. The bold legacy of Columbus and his crew spun a thread that weaves through the extensive history of Americans who have pushed the boundaries of exploration. On Columbus Day, we draw inspiration from this intrepid pioneer’s spirit of adventure. We also affirm our commitment to continuing our quest to discover and better understand the wonders of our Nation, the world, and beyond.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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