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National

Washington Landmarks Get Unwelcome Paint Job

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, D.C., it's green paint that's getting attention. That paint appeared on several historic landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial. Yesterday, police arrested a woman for allegedly splashing paint at another site.

Patrick Madden, of member station WAMU, has been following the story.

PATRICK MADDEN, BYLINE: Police arrested a 58-year-old woman near the Washington National Cathedral, the site of the latest green paint splattering. Jiamei Tian, whom police believe to be homeless, is charged with one count of defacing property.

The cathedral - which calls itself the spiritual home of the nation - is still recovering from a 2011 earthquake that caused millions of dollars in damage. Now the cathedral will have to clean up green paint that was splashed on two levels, according to spokesperson Richard Weinberg.

RICHARD WEINBERG: A colleague of mine who's in the music department discovered green paint that had been strewn. And the paint was strewn over the organ's console in that chapel. And paint was also found in children's chapel.

MADDEN: At least three other D.C. landmarks were vandalized by green paint over the past few days, and police are investigating whether the incidents are connected. They include: a statue of Martin Luther, a statue outside the Smithsonian headquarters on the National Mall, and the first reported incident, green paint splashed on the Lincoln Memorial.

After that happened, the union representing officers who guard the National Mall said the vandalism underscores the need for more resources.

U.S. Park Police union president Ian Glick.

IAN GLICK: While I don't want to say that sequestration played a role in this particular incident, what it does play a role in is the fact that there are fewer officers to protect the areas. And we've been asking for increased funding and staffing.

MADDEN: Officials say it will take a few days to remove the paint from all the sites. Scaffolding will remain in place at the Lincoln Memorial. But at the National Cathedral, the show must go on. Just hours after the paint was spilled, forcing the building to shut down, the cathedral opened its doors for one of its famous choir concerts.

For NPR News in Washington, I'm Patrick Madden. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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