Confederate soldiers in Charleston, S.C., was found spray-painted Sunday with graffiti reading “Black Lives Matter” and “This is the problem #racist.”
The graffiti also addressed South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
“Riley and Haley. Why defend this evil. This the root of our evil,” the message read.
The memorial, which was erected in 1932 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is dedicated to “Defenders of Charleston — Fort Sumter” and stands in the city’s White Point Garden.
The vandalism was discovered the same day that members of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church gathered for their first Sunday service since Wednesday’s mass shooting, in which nine black parishioners were shot and killed by a white supremacist.
The shooting has renewed national debate about the Confederate flag, which still flies above he state’s capitol in Columbia, and other symbols of the Confederacy.
According to the Post and Courier, vandalism of the statue sparked a debate among bystanders, one who described the Confederate flag as a symbol of “Southern heritage” and “pride.”
Another observer posted a sign calling for the statue to be removed.
“It’s important for this state to say we don’t support white supremacy, we don’t promote pro-hatred groups or symbols,” she said.