Watch CBS News

Columbus Statue Atop San Francisco's Telegraph Hill Defaced During Italian Heritage Parade

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco city workers spent the day cleaning off the statue of Christopher Columbus atop San Francisco's Telegraph Hill after it was defaced with red paint and graffiti.

Columbus Statue Defaced on Telegraph Hill (Facebook)
(Photo by Bill Colon via North Beach News / Facebook)

Along with the paint, someone drew symbols of anarchy and wrote messages on the base that said, "Destroy all monuments of genocide" and "Kill all colonizers."

A Park Ranger official tells KPIX5 the paint was fresh when workers arrived in the morning so they believe it happened either late last night or very early this morning.

San Francisco police captain Robert Yick, who was in the parade which wends along Columbus Ave. between Fisherman's Wharf and

Statue of Christopher Columbus Defaced
A statue of Christopher Columbus at Coit Tower on San Francisco's Telegraph Hill was hit with red spray paint. (Bill Colon / North Beach News)

North Beach, told KPIX reporter Joe Vazquez: "It's real and it's a mess. We're going to have it cleaned up quickly."

"No, that's not the spirit of this event, " said Tiffany Lindsey of San Francisco, who attended the festival. "I mean, we're here to celebrate our heritage, our beliefs, our background. And that's disgusting. I'm sorry, but that really offends me."

North Beach has been home to Italian-Americans for more than a century. Monday is a holiday that used to be called Columbus Day in San Francisco, until last year, when the board of supervisors officially changed it to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

ALSO READ: Indigenous Peoples' Day Events Mark 50 Years Since Alcatraz Occupation

"It serves him right," said Robbie Sanguinetti of San Francisco, who was visiting the Coit Tower Sunday afternoon. "Mr. Columbus over there disrespected a lot of people, to put it lightly. I love my Italian Heritage. I've been to Italy, Italy is a beautiful place. That said, it doesn't have to be anywhere else, especially when the heritage that was already here has its own way of being beautiful."

Organizers of the Italian Heritage Festival did not want to comment directly on the vandalism, but they said it did not dampen the spirit of their event.


There are surveillance cameras in the area, but it is not clear whether the crime was caught on video. SFPD is working to determine if the crime was caught on any of them.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.