Vandals taking advantage of the massive George Floyd protests in Washington for the last two weeks have wreaked havoc on several historic landmarks in Washington D.C.
According to the National Park Service, twelve statues and memorials have been tragically defaced in the National Mall as angry demonstrators turned their fury towards sites celebrating American history, including the Lincoln Memorial.
According to the Washington Times, targets included “the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the U.S. Navy Memorial, as well as eight statues, including the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s nonviolent independence movement.”
NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said that the damage was mostly limited to graffiti and that repairs are already underway.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said last week that the DOI is working hard to restore “our national icons to their rightful state — places that recognize the wars fought, battles won, heroes that have come before us and injustices that have been overcome throughout history.”
“Our First Amendment is the bedrock of our democracy,” Bernhardt continued. “It is disturbing that anyone would deface and damage our wonderful national memorials and parks. This is not a representation of who we are as a country or as a people, and it is not to be tolerated or condoned.”
Protests have pivoted from calling for justice for George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in late May, to generalized calls to address systemic racism. To some, vandalizing statues memorializing Civil War military figures such as David Farragut, James McPherson, and George Thomas — all of whom fought for the Union forces — is apparently the way to achieve that goal.