NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The famed Wall Street “Charging Bull” statue was vandalized with blue paint Thursday morning.
Authorities say the paint was noticed on the bull’s head at about 7:30 a.m. A sash was also draped over the neighboring “Fearless Girl” statue. It read “Draw the blue line” — which police call an apparent reference to the Paris climate accord.
The mayor’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, posted a picture of the bull on Twitter saying, “No place for vandalism in public debate.”
The paint and sash were quickly removed.
A police officer now stands next to the bull as detectives try to track down the culprits, who are getting little empathy from many New Yorkers.
“That’s horrible, Hollis resident Daniel Chisolm told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “Horrible. Unbelievable.”
“It doesn’t give people the right to vandalize public property, especially something that means as much to the City of New York as this bull does,” Brooklyn resident Christopher Posey said.
“No matter how angry you are, I don’t think you should be vandalizing a structure or property or a monument,” a woman who works in the area told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
Most were perplexed as to why the bull was the chosen target.
“It doesn’t really make much sense to go after the bull,” said Lower Manhattan resident Megan Waardenburg.
“If the protest is the U.S. coming out of the Paris climate accord, then I think that it was misdirected,” Lower East Side resident Diana Varenik said. “I just really don’t understand the link between the climate and the bull statue.”
The bull, which was installed in 1989 by artist Arturo Di Modica, has long been popular with tourists who like to snap photos with the bronze sculpture. It was also vandalized with blue paint in 2008.
The statue of the little girl with her hands on her hips was temporarily placed on a traffic island facing the bull on March 7, and will stay until Feb. 2018.
Thursday’s incident is the latest in a recent string of vandalism of sculptures in the city. Earlier this week, vandals defaced the statue of Christopher Columbus in Central Park.
The statue had the message “hate will not be tolerated” and “something’s coming” scrawled on it. Columbus’s hands were painted red, and a paper sign that read ‘save your soul’ was also found.
Last month, vandals also targeted a Columbus statue in Astoria, Queens. “Don’t honor genocide” and “take it down” were stenciled on the base of the statue at Triangle Park.
There has been a debate surrounding the removal of Columbus statues, including the one in Columbus Circle.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a special commission that will evaluate public monuments on city property and offer recommendations on whether they should stay, be removed or have plaques with additional information added to them.
The commission was created in the wake of the deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. A woman was killed during a rally initiated by protests against the removal of the statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)