Christopher Columbus Statue in San Francisco Vandalized With 'Kill All Colonizers' Graffiti

A statute of Christopher Columbus has been vandalized in San Francisco, California, on the eve of the federal holiday celebrating the Italian explorer.

The statue on Telegraph Hill was found doused in red paint with graffiti scrawled across the base on Sunday morning, one day before Christopher Columbus Day, which also coincides with Italian Heritage Day.

The red graffiti on the base of the statue read "Destroy all monuments of genocide" and "Kill all colonizers," reports KPIX5.

San Francisco is one of dozens of U.S. cities, along with several entire states, which no longer celebrate Christopher Columbus Day on the second Monday of October.

Last year, the city voted to change it to Indigenous People's Day because of how the Native Americans were treated after the arrival of European settlers.

Despite the controversy which surrounds the explorer, officials have spoken out against the "shameful act of hatred and vandalism" against the statue.

"Coit Tower is a destination for locals and visitors alike and defacing public property is just the lowest form of behavior," Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the area on the Board of Supervisors, told the San Francisco Examiner.

"I think it's horrible," Jodi Silverman, who was visiting San Francisco from Boston, told NBC Bay Area. "I think that people, yes they have freedom of speech, but they shouldn't deface property."

However, not everyone believes the act of vandalism was a bad thing.

"It serves him right," local resident Robbie Sanguinetti, told KPIX5. "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."

Gina Williams said to KRON: "I mean we all know he's got blood on his hands. And I see he's got blood on his hands."

San Francisco Police have launched an investigation into the incident. There are surveillance cameras at the scene but it is unclear if the act was caught on video.

In a statement to NBC, the organizers of the Italian Heritage Festival, which was held on Sunday just a few blocks away from the statue, said: "We are proud of more than 150 years of Italian-American history in the Bay Area and choose to focus on bringing people together."

Christopher Columbus
A statue of Christopher Columbus is seen next to Coit Tower March 25, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The statue on on Telegraph Hill has bene vandalized with red paint and the words "kill all colonizers" written on its base. Justin Sullivan/Getty