WORCESTER, Mass. (WHDH/AP) — A statue of Christopher Columbus in Worcester was splashed with red paint and defaced early Tuesday morning, authorities said.

It was the second time this month that a statue of the Italian explorer in the state has been vandalized amid nationwide racial injustice protests.

Surveillance video showed two men vandalizing the monument outside Union Station at about 3:30 a.m. and running away toward Shrewsbury, according to Worcester Police Lt. Sean Murtha.

The word “genocide” was painted on the statue, the Telegram and Gazette reported.

Officers recovered a bucket of red paint, a bag, and spray paint from the scene. City workers started cleaning the statue later in the morning.

No arrests were announced.


In a statement, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said, “This is a moment of tremendous social change. It is a time when honest conversations about our history, and about centuries of racial injustices, are absolutely critical. Defacing or destroying public monuments and statues is not the way to have those conversations. Vandalism is never the right solution. There is a public process through which all voices can be heard, and action can be taken. We cannot ignore the significance of what is happening in our country, and the constitutional right of all people to express themselves, but any expression carried out in an act of vandalism will not be tolerated. Instead, let us engage in conversation about how best to address the future of some of the City’s historical monuments and statues.”

The statue was a gift to the city in 1978 by local attorney Nunziato Fusaro in memory of his wife, Esther.

Columbus statues around the country as well as other monuments with racist connections have been targeted by protesters speaking out against police brutality.

Boston’s Columbus statue had its head knocked off earlier this month. It was taken down and Mayor Marty Walsh said the city would reassess its meaning. A Columbus statue in Richmond, Virginia was toppled and thrown into a lake during protests on June 9.

Anyone with information on the Worcester incident is asked to call the Worcester Police Detective Bureau at 508-799-8651.

(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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