The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. was vandalized on Tuesday. The National Park Service said the memorial had to be cleaned after it was vandalized with red spray paint.

The graffiti was found at about 4:30 a.m. on a column at the site. A statement from the National Park Service said the tag was hard to read, but appeared to say “[expletive] law.”

A blurred photo of the graffiti left on the Lincoln Memorial early Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Image Credit: National Park Service
A blurred photo of the graffiti left on the Lincoln Memorial early Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Image Credit: National Park Service

The statement also said more graffiti was found on a Smithsonian wayfinding sign in the 1400 block of Constitution Avenue. That graffiti, written silver spray paint, couldn’t be read.

Lincoln Memorial was vandalized with phrase ‘F*** law.’

The red paint in the Lincoln Memorial’s column was to be removed with “a mild, gel-type architectural paint stripper that is safe for use on historic stone,” according to the Park Services. The paint stripper is spread on the affected area and allowed to sit for about an hour before being removed with water. The process is repeated until the paint is gone. Removing the “F*** law” tag could take up to two weeks.

“The removal has begun, but it’s a lengthy [process] that will require numerous treatments over a week or two to completely remove,” National Park Service spokesman Michael Litterst told The Washington Post in an email.

The Park Service will also remove the unreadable message sprayed across the Smithsonian wayfinding sign. The almost-century-old Lincoln Memorial has been vandalized before. In February, the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial were defaced in black marker with cryptic messages.

The messages read things like “Jackie shot JFK,” a reference to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as well as the phrase “blood test is a lie.” Crew members cleaned the messages after two weeks.

“The millions that come here to see it won’t even be aware that this happened,” Litterst said at the time, according to Newsweek.

The Park Service asked the public that if they know anything about the graffiti they can contact the U.S. Park Police. The investigation is currently ongoing.

Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain has also been defaced before

News4 reported they noticed additional damage to the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday afternoon. Someone apparently carved “M + E” on the same pillar where the red paint was found. The words appear to have been carved a while ago. However, because the words are carved, the damage seems to be permanent.

"M + E" carved into one of the memorial's pillars. credit: NBC Washington
“M + E” carved into one of the memorial’s pillars. credit: NBC Washington

In 2013, the Lincoln Memorial was briefly closed off after someone threw green paint on the statue of Abraham Lincoln. Officials suspected a woman called Jiamei Tian was responsible, as she had been charged with defacing property after vandalizing the Washington National Cathedral. However, in 2015 a judge dismissed her case, citing she wasn’t competent to stand trial.

People have been defacing the monuments in Washington D.C. for quite a while. For instance, in 1991, the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain was vandalized with red paint. In 2002 –510 years after Columbus first came to America—it was vandalized one again, that time with the words “510 Years Oppression” and “510 Years Resistance.”

Source: Newsweek