PUEBLO — Early Sunday morning shortly before 6 a.m., News5's news crew noticed red paint on the Christopher Columbus statue in downtown Pueblo.
Police officers had just arrived on scene and were shining their flashlights to investigate what happened, and they confirmed they received reports the statue had been tagged.
For the next couple of hours, Pueblo Fire Department worked diligently to hose down the statue and clean up any remnants of the paint and the debris at the base.
Crews using pressure cleaners were also working on removing the last remnants of paint late Sunday morning.
Red paint splatter surrounded the base of the stat and there were also some scattered tomatoes that looked like they had been thrown at the statue.
There were also some scattered tomatoes that looked like they had been thrown at the statue.
Police recovered a paper cup which may have contained the paint that was used to splash the left side of the statue.
Sunday morning, Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar released the following statement: “In Pueblo, we work through our solutions peacefully so it is unfortunate the Columbus statue was vandalized last night. I remain committed to do the hard work of allowing both sides, to work through mediation, to reach an agreement. In terms of the statue itself, it appears there was no permanent damage to the statue.”
At 10 a.m. Sunday morning, anti-Christopher Columbus activists will be gathering in Pueblo since Monday is no longer Columbus Day in Colorado.
They will be marching from four different directions as part of a Native American tradition to bring people together.
Marchers will include spiritual leaders, drummers, pipe carriers and native dancers will lead people coming from the north, east, west, and south.
They'll be marching through designated streets, to the Mesa Junction, at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Abriendo Avenue.
Back in late March, Governor Jared Polis signed a bill to change Columbus Day holiday to Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini day. Cabrini dedicated her life to helping Italian immigrants and established 43 orphanages. Sunday's event is sponsored by the Pueblo Abolish Columbus Day committee, El Movimiento Sigue and the American Indian Movement of Colorado.
The activists some counter-protesters this morning, and Pueblo police officers will be present, telling News5 they're just there to make sure everyone is safe and that everyone can exercise their constitutional right.
Pueblo's Italian community will also be hosting a celebration on Monday to honor Christopher Columbus and Columbus statue in Pueblo. Protesters have called for its removal while Italian community members want it to stay. Mayor Nick Gradisar said back in July the statue will stay for now.