A statue of Christopher Columbus was found covered in red paint on Columbus Day – the anniversary of the day the explorer arrived in America.
The monument, which has stood in London’s Belgrave Square since 1992, was also marked with a red cross over the inscription commemorating his life.
Sculptor Tomas Banuelos designed the statue to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s expedition to the New World and it is a gift from Spain’s people.
A petition was started this year to remove the Belgrave Square monument which stated the explorer was a ‘perpetrator’ of various crimes including rape, enslavement and mass genocide.
Columbus Day courts controversy as the explorer used violence and slavery against indigenous people on his travels.
Christopher Columbus’s statue (pictured) in London’s Belgrave Square was found covered in red paint
Now, many people have asked for statues of Columbus to be removed, defaced them or pulled them down across the world.
In 2020, a Liverpool teacher called for the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue at Sefton Park’s Palm House.
That petition argued: ‘There is no place for a statue of Christopher Columbus in Liverpool. He murdered and enslaved thousands of indigenous people in the places that he supposedly ‘discovered’.
The monument, which has stood in London ‘s Belgrave Square since 1992, was also marked with a red cross over the inscription commemorating his life (pictured)
In America most recently, a monument of Columbus was pulled down in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Baltimore.
Last year, protesters set a statue of Christopher Columbus on fire during anti-racism demonstrations in Virginia.
At least 36 monuments to Columbus have been removed since the 1970s in the US.
Sculptor Tomas Banuelos designed the statue to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s expedition to the New World and it is a gift from Spain’s people
But 149 remain in place, making him the third most commemorated figure in America.
In the UK, many have called for statutes linked to racism and colonialism to be removed.
During the Black Lives Matter protests last year after the killing of George Floyd in America, a number of monuments were defaced and toppled.
Slave trader Edward Colson’s statue was toppled in Bristol last year by protesters.
The monument of Edward Colson, a slave trader, was toppled in Bristol last year by Black Lives Matter protesters and rolled along the streets to the harbour
Protesters used ropes to heave down the monument of Edward Colson before they dumped it in Bristol Harbour and it was taken out of the water by the council (pictured)
It was a subject of controversy in Bristol and many signed a petition against it remaining in its place.
Protesters used ropes to heave down the monument before they dumped it in Bristol Harbour.
As many as 10,000 activists gathered in the city and were condemned for their actions by Priti Patel and Sajid Javid at the time.
Ms Patel branded the act ‘utterly disgraceful’ and Mr Javid said ‘this is not ok.’
Bristol museum will display the monument of Edward Colson.
Winston Churchill’s statue was defaced with graffiti during another Black Lives Matter protest with the words ‘Churchill was a racist’ daubed on it in June 2020.
Activists also pinned a poster saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ to the coat of the statue and it was covered and guarded by police afterwards.
Activists also pinned a poster saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ to the coat of Winston Churchill’s statue (pictured), prompting the police to cover it to prevent it being further vandalized
In Oxford, Oriel College said last June that they would take down their monument of Cecil Rhodes, a controversial imperialist.
It came after thousands of protesters gathered outside the college to demand the statue be taken down.
Oriel College launched an independent inquiry into issues surrounding the monument.
In Oxford, Oriel College said last June that they would take down their monument of Cecil Rhodes (pictured)- a controversial imperialist
Protesters (pictured) gathered outside the college to demand the statue of Cecil Rhodes be taken down
Deptford Town Hall currently has monuments (pictured) of Sir Francis Drake and Cromwellian admiral Robert Blake which were splattered with paint in 2020
And Deptford Town Hall’s statues may be torn down because of their links to slavery.
Goldsmiths University owns the building and launched a public consultation in September into the future of the statues.
The building currently has monuments of Sir Francis Drake, Cromwellian admiral Robert Blake, Lord Horatio Nelson, and an anonymous representative naval figure.
Consultation will run until October 17 to decide whether the statues will be removed or not.
What is Columbus Day?
Columbus Day, the anniversary of the explorer’s arrival in America, is on 11 October.
President Franklin D Roosevelt first declared a Columbus Day in 1934.
It was recognised in America and other countries including Italy and Spain for some years.
But many states and local governments have distanced themselves from celebrating the holiday and now choose to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.
The alternative holiday remembers the history and culture of Native American people.