— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) October 8, 2017
One man is in custody in Chicago after he and two others were caught defacing a prominent statue of Christopher Columbus with graffiti early Saturday morning, police said.
A witness confronted the masked trio at around 12:05 a.m. while they were spraying graffiti on the statue, which sits on the western edge of Arrigo Park in Chicago’s Little Italy. A wall near the statue was also reportedly damaged.
All three vandals sped away on bicycles, but one of the men fell off his bike and was held by a witness until police arrived. The 30-year-old man has been arrested and criminal charges are pending, according to Chicago PD. His name has not yet been released.
This incident comes after a NYC-based antifa group called on anarchists across the nation to take action protesting Columbus Day to show opposition to what they consider “one of the most vile ‘holidays’ of the year.”
Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) on September 21 called on antifa groups nationwide to “decorate” their neighborhoods.
We are calling for groups to “decorate” their neighborhoods as they see fit: put up murals, wheatpaste posters, drop a banner, etc. On October 9th put a picture of your action on social media and use the hashtags below. With these actions multiplied around the country, we will make it unequivocally clear that revolutionaries will always stand with the indigenous!
A man who lives in the Little Italy neighborhood told DNAInfo that he saw police arresting a man wearing a black ski mask and could see that the statue had been hit with spray paint.
Park District crews were cleaning up the spray paint Saturday morning and said they could not make out what the graffiti said, calling it “gibberish.”
Chicago will be holding its 65th annual Columbus Day parade and a wreath-laying at the statue on Monday, DNAInfo reports.
The statue has been a frequent target for vandalism over the years.
Last November, anti-Trump graffiti was scrawled on it in red spraypaint.
“F— Trump” was painted on the front of it. “Racist F— You” was painted on the back.
A concrete wall next to the statue was tagged with a message saying “Blacks Queer Trans Lives Matter.” Another message said “And Still I Rise.”
The statue of Columbus was first exhibited in the Italian pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World in 1492.
It has been at the park in Little Italy since 1966.
Explorer Christopher Columbus points to a cross over his heart. Public park statue in Chicago's Little Italy pic.twitter.com/eBNyHO4Igk
— The Four Marks (@TheFourMarks) July 1, 2016