A 225-year-old monument to Christopher Columbus in Baltimore, said to be the oldest in the U.S. and the world dedicated to the Italian explorer still standing, was severely vandalized on Sunday night.
Vandals documented the desecration of the 44-foot-tall obelisk in a video posted online Monday, the Baltimore Brew reported.
A hole was smashed in the middle of the stone monument that left the words "Sacred to the Memory of Chris. Columbus Oct. XII MDCC VIIIC" unreadable.
The vandals left behind signs in the grass leaning against the monument. One reads: "Racism: Tear it down." The other says: "The future is racial and economic justice."
In the video, posted to YouTube under the username "Popular Resistance," one person smashes the monument with a sledgehammer as an unidentified narrator explains why they are destroying the structure.
"Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere," the narrator says. "Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation, and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas. That Columbian wave of destruction continues on the backs of Indigenous, African-American, and brown people."
"What sort of culture clings to those monuments in 2017?" the narrator asks.
The vandalism comes amid an ongoing national controversy over the removal of Confederate statues and monuments across the country, including in Baltimore.
There are two other monuments dedicated to Columbus in Baltimore. The Baltimore Brew indicated that it is unclear whether they were vandalized as well as of Monday morning.