Italian church vandalized with anti-colonization graffiti. Police are investigating as a hate crime

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A fallen banner on the church's front steps read, "STOP COLONIZING OUR LAND," while graffiti on the sidewalk formed phrases like, "Land Back," "USA" and...
St. Peter's Italian Church on the edge of Chinatown in L.A. was vandalized Monday morning. (Hayley Smith / Los Angeles Times)

St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church was marred with anti-colonial slogans on Monday in an act of vandalism that police are investigating as a hate crime.

By noon, a small crowd had gathered at the church on the edge of Chinatown, where detectives said the vandalism appeared to be linked to the day's holidays, which include Indigenous Peoples Day and the former Columbus Day.

A banner resting on the church's front steps read, "STOP COLONIZING OUR LAND," while graffiti on the sidewalk spelled out phrases including "Land Back," "USA" and "Stolen Land."

Explosions of red paint dotted the steps and front facade, including a delicate, gold-specked mosaic above the doors.

The church on North Broadway was established in 1904 and holds Masses in English, Spanish and Italian.

Det. Suzanne Reed with the Los Angeles Police Department's major crimes division said the incident was being investigated as a hate crime.

Arturo Martinez said he first spotted the red paint around 8:15 a.m. on his way in to his daughter's nearby clothing shop. He believed it happened sometime after 6 a.m. because a neighbor did not see signs of vandalism…
Hayley Smith
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