PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A statue of Christopher Columbus in Rhode Island has been vandalized on the day named in his honor.

The statue in Providence was splashed from head to toe with red paint Monday and a sign reading “Stop celebrating genocide” was leaned up against the pedestal. The word “genocide” was written in orange paint on the rear of the pedestal.

The vandalized Christopher Columbus Statue (Image credit: WPRI)

The statue has been the target of vandals on Columbus Day in the past.

Columbus, one of the first Europeans in the New World, has become a polarizing figure.

Since 1992, Native American advocates have pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day over concerns that Columbus spurred centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas.

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