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Watch: San Francisco Columbus statue vandalised on namesake US holiday

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Watch: San Francisco Columbus statue vandalised on namesake US holiday
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Several statues of Christopher Columbus in the US were vandalised on his namesake holiday on Monday.

The 15th-century Italian navigator, one of the first Europeans to reach the Americas, has become a polarising figure in the country, and Columbus Day increasingly contentious.

There have been calls from Native American campaigners for Columbus Day to be renamed "Indigenous Peoples Day", citing the view that Columbus spurred centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas. A handful of states marked the day as such on Monday.

In San Francisco, a Columbus statue at the foot of Coit Tower, in the city's North Beach neighbourhood, was vandalised with red paint and scrawled with anarchy symbols and messages reading "Destroy all monuments of genocide" and "Kill all colonisers".

Meanwhile, thousands used the holiday to celebrate Italian culture in North Beach, San Francisco's "Little Italy".

San Francisco city supervisor Aaron Peskin called the vandalism of the statue "despicable behaviour", adding: "These are events that happened 500 years ago. The cops are going to see what they can find in those videos. If somebody can be found and apprehended and charged they will be."

Video editor • Nathalie Texier