Police found the words “don’t honor genocide” and “take it down” on the base of a Christopher Columbus statue in Astoria on Thursday.
According to the NYPD, the words were written in blue spray paint and found at the Columbus Triangle at Astoria Boulevard South and 32nd Street. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.
According to the Parks Department website, the Italian Chamber of Commerce installed a bronze tablet at the site of the Astoria statue on Oct. 12, 1937, to indicate that it would build a full monument to Columbus.
Italian sculptor Angelo Racioppi created the 7-foot-tall bronze statue and it was unveiled in front of 5,000 people on Christopher Columbus Day in 1941.
The graffiti found on the Astoria statue was removed by the Parks Department.
Monuments across the city and country have been vandalized or taken down in response to the events in Charlottesville, VA, where a clash between white supremacists and counter protesters culminated in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was at the scene to advocate for the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.
In response to the events in Charlottesville, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Aug. 16 a 90-day review “of all symbols of hate on city property.” He took to Twitter last month to announce that the monument to Philippe Pétain in Battery Park, a French general during World War I, will be one of the first statues taken down.
The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove. https://t.co/hAnGmkCdtg
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 16, 2017
Pétain was sentenced to life in prison for collaborating with the Nazi regime, according to History.com. As the head of Vichy France (the puppet regime the Nazis installed while occupying France) from 1940 to 1942, he called for confiscating property from French Jews, firing them from government positions and excluding them from attending college.