Police are looking for the suspect or suspects who vandalized a statue of Christopher Columbus near San Francisco’s Coit Tower on Sunday in the city’s North Beach neighborhood.
According to police, they first learned the statue, located in the 200 block of Telegraph Hill Boulevard, had been vandalized around 11 a.m. The statue appeared to be covered in red paint with the phrases “Kill all colonizers” and “Destroy all monuments of genocide” written underneath.
The vandalism occurred shortly before the start of Sunday’s Italian American Heritage Festival in North Beach and a day before Monday’s federal holiday Columbus Day, celebrating Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492.
Columbus has proved to be a controversial figure, with activists denouncing him for benefiting off of the genocide of millions of indigenous peoples throughout North and South America.
Last year, San Francisco supervisors moved to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in the city. Months later, they voted to also call the holiday Italian American Heritage Day.
In addition to San Francisco, Columbus statues in Providence, Rhode Island and Chula Vista in Southern California had also reportedly been found vandalized Monday.