RI Columbus Statue Latest Target in Columbus Day Vandalism

A statue of Christopher Columbus in Rhode Island was found defaced Monday in another incident involving the vandalism of statues of the Italian explorer in New England on Columbus Day.

According to WJAR, red paint and an expletive targeting Columbus were found on the statue on the corner of Elmwood and Lexington avenues in Providence on Monday morning.

In Connecticut, three statues were found vandalized. In Middletown and New Haven, the statues were also covered in red paint. The Middletown statue was found with the words “kill the colonizer” on it. A third statue in Norwalk was also vandalized, but police did not release any further details.

All of the incidents occurred on Columbus Day, marking the day the explorer arrived in the Americas in 1492. It's not clear if any of the local incidents are connected.

Several communities in New England have openly opposed Columbus Day, instead deciding to recognize the victims of colonialism with “Indigenous Peoples' Day.” City councilors in Cambridge, Massachusetts unanimously voted to adopt the name in 2016, and several towns in New Hampshire and Maine have done the same.

Some larger cities around the country have also adopted “Indigenous Peoples Day,” including Austin, Texas, San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington.

But many Italian-Americans argue that Columbus is a symbol of their ethnic pride.

It's not the first time the debate has led to vandalism. Last month in New York, vandals doused the hands of a Christopher Columbus statue in blood-red paint and scrawled the words "hate will not be tolerated." In August, a statue in Yonkers was beheaded.

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