AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The City Hall in the capital of Texas was vandalized sometime late Monday or early Tuesday with red paint and anti-capitalism graffiti messages as the state prepares to slowly reopen of one of the world’s largest economies that has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Red paint was splattered across the front entrance of the building in Austin and messages were spay-painted on the steps outside.
One message read: “MAY 1 INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY” with a hammer and sickle. Another said: “U.S. imperialism is the virus” and “socialist revolution is the cure!”
The defacement occurred after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday outlined a plan that allow the state’s restaurants, retailers, movie theaters and malls to start letting customers trickle into their establishments starting May 1.
The governor’s move comes as Texas and other states are processing a record-high surge in jobless claims and food banks are seeing spiking demands. However, testing for the virus remains limited.
It was just the latest act of vandalism at Austin’s City Hall. In March, a man was arrested and accused of incinerating a statue of a grackle that stood outside the building, burning the art installation to the ground.
According to state health officials, Texas had more than 25,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with 663 deaths and more than 11,100 deemed recovered. The number of infections is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and be life-threatening.