<p>Christopher Columbus statues were defaced in multiple cities across the country leading up to the Oct. 9 holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the Americas in 1492.
<p>Vandals spray painted on Columbus statues in cities across Connecticut, including in Middletown, Bridgeport, Norwalk and New Haven, over the holiday weekend, WTNH reports.</p>
<p>The statue in New Haven was adorned in blood-like paint with the words, "kill the colonizer," spray painted along the sidewalk nearby.</p>
<p>“I just happened to be walking my dog, came across the hoopla, and decided to check it out and saw that the statue had been defaced yet again for the second time in a couple weeks,” said Alexa Benner of New Haven. “It is 100 percent true, but there’s no need to deface a statue like that.”</p>
<p>The city assigned police officers to guard the statues for the remainder of the weekend to be sure they would not be defaced again before the holiday. Benner told WTNH she believes it's a waste of city's resources to have officers "babysit a statue."</p>
<p>Connecticut wasn't the only state that faced graffiti activism; New York had a similar case in September in which a 125-year-old statue in Central Park was defaced when someone used dark red paint to cover Columbus's bronze hands. At the base of the statute someone spray painted, “Hate Will Not Be Tolerated,” with “#SOMETHINGSCOMING,” tagged below it.
<p>During a city council meeting to discuss the Columbus landmark, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a panel to discuss Columbus and all “symbols of hate on city property," according to Newsweek.</p>
<p>Mayor de Blasio spoke with the New York Daily News and warned opponents not the "pre-judge" the panel, as it may not mean the removal of the statue, rather the addition of a plaque to explain the history behind the monument.</p>
<p>Several major cities, including Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, have joined a growing list of cities and states that recognize Columbus Day as Indigenous People's Day, instead in recognition of the people who already inhabited the Americas prior to Columbus introducing the continent to Europe.</p>
<p>The debate over historical statues began following the response from local governments in the south removing Confederate flags and the toppling of commemorative statues in response to the murders of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, Newsweek notes. More recently, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly and the statue of Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army was covered in a black tarp, reports the New York Post.</p>
<p>The debate over public monuments continues as New York mayoral candidate, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, wrote on Twitter after the defacing of the Columbus statue, “Sadly, I just learned Columbus statue in Central Park was spray painted overnight,” adding that de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were being “divisive” on the issue, according to Newsweek.</p>