The Bismarck Memorial in Berlin has been defaced with graffiti saying “Decolonise Berlin”.
It is the latest statue to be defaced in a wave of protests aimed at removing statues deemed to have links to colonialism and racism.
Flyers attached to the fence in front of the statue were also found, according to German online news portal Tag24. They are reportedly authored by the “Decolonise Berlin” alliance, and urge readers to deal with the crimes of German colonial history. Tag24 say the alliance said they had “beautified” the streets as well as the monument overnight.
They reportedly stated that they would resist if the city tolerated murderers and racists on pedestals and street signs.
The Berlin police are aware of the incident, according to an unnamed spokesman cited in Tag24, but it is unclear if they are investigating.
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) was the first Chancellor of the German Empire, from 1871 to 1890.
He was the brains behind the unification of Germany and while he disliked colonialism, he reluctantly gave the go ahead for the country to build an overseas empire after pressure from the elite and the German people.
Germany lost control of its empire at the beginning of World War I when its territories fell under enemy control in the opening weeks of the conflict.
The Bismarck memorial in Berlin was erected in honour of Bismarck. It shows Bismarck as chancellor standing above statues of Atlas, symbolising Germany’s status as a world power at the end of the 19th century, as well as three other statues.
They include Germanic mythological hero Siegfried, forging a sword that represents the country’s military and industrial strength, Germania, the personification of the German people, and a sibyl – an oracle from Ancient Greece – reading the book of history while lying on a sphinx.
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