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Vandals splatter Lincoln Memorial with green paint

By CNN Staff
July 26, 2013 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Paint is splattered on a leg and base of the 19-foot Abraham Lincoln statue, police say
  • The Lincoln Memorial is closed until the paint can be cleaned up
  • No timeframe of the closure is given

Washington (CNN) -- Officials are hopeful that the chamber containing the Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial, which was vandalized overnight, can be reopened sometime Friday, National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson told reporters.

The memorial's portico -- the columned area outside the chamber -- should be reopen before that, in the late morning, she said.

Workers are cleaning the paint that had been splashed onto part of the marble statue, she said.

Watch: Obama surprises visitors at the Lincoln Memorial

Vandals splashed green paint on the base of the statue overnight, prompting officials to temporarily close the marble fixture on Washington's National Mall, authorities said.

Police were alerted just before 1:30 a.m. and found paint splattered on the leg and base of the 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Park Police Capt. Steven Booker told CNN on Friday. There were no discernible letters or markings.

The memorial will be closed until it is cleaned up, Booker said.

A U.S. Park Police officer stands guard next to the vandalized statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday, July 26. The memorial was closed to visitors after someone splattered green paint on the statue and the floor area. A U.S. Park Police officer stands guard next to the vandalized statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday, July 26. The memorial was closed to visitors after someone splattered green paint on the statue and the floor area.
Lincoln Memorial through the years
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Photos: Lincoln Memorial through the years Photos: Lincoln Memorial through the years

The memorial, one of the more iconic features of Washington, honors the 16th U.S. president. The marble statue of a seated Lincoln resides in nearly 100-foot-high columned marble building facing the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.

More than 6 million people visited the Lincoln Memorial in 2012, the National Park Service says.

Dedicated in 1922, it has been the site of a number of protests and gatherings, including the 1963 March on Washington, during which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the memorial.

See also: Controversial MLK Memorial inscription to be removed

CNN's Diane Ruggiero and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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