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105-Year-Old Christopher Columbus Statue Dishonored With an Ax to the Head

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"I understand why they would."

A more than 100-year-old bust of Christopher Columbus in Detroit was vandalized with red paint and an ax to the head Monday, the federal holiday to honor the Italian explorer credited with sailing to the Americas in 1492.

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The scene, meant to look like a bloody hatchet in sculpture's head, was discovered and removed by a California-based urban explorer group visiting the city.

The group posted a photo of the ax, which had been taped to the bust's head, on an American flag, saying "In Detroit less then 48 hour [sic] and already made the local news. Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team Does It Better. Happy Holidays."

In Detroit less then 48 hour and already made the local news. Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team Does It Better. Happy Holidays.

Posted by Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team on Monday, October 12, 2015

Here's some reaction on the vandalism from WJBK-TV:

"I understand why they would," said Jeff Richards, one of the people who walked over to the bust to snap a photo of what they believe to be symbolic vandalism. "He didn't do anything that people said he did. He took advantage of people who were already there and raped and killed."

"There's a lot of graffiti vandalism that happens in the city," said Jacob Munson. "A lot of it I don't agree with, a lot of it has a larger message. This I believe has a larger message and one that I support."

According to the Detroit Free Press, the bust was created by Italian artist Augusto Rivalta and was placed in the city to honor its Italian residents in 1910. The newspaper reported that police were investigating the vandalism to the statue and noted that the city said it would have the paint cleaned up on Tuesday.

Watch WXYZ-TV's report:

The vandalism to the bust came on a day when many other cities saw contention over the Columbus Day holiday. Several cities, for example, choose to honor what's called Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day.

Native Americans activists frequently speak out against the notion that Columbus discovered America, since indigenous people lived throughout the Western Hemisphere before he set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. For decades, many have coordinated protests against the holiday that honors him.

Columbus Day supporters, however, say the October holiday celebrates centuries of cultural exchange between America and Europe, commemorates an iconic explorer and honors Italian-Americans.

In a related Columbus Day story, TheBlaze took to the streets of New York City Monday to find out if people could answer a simple historical question about the explorer.

(H/T: MLive)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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