The mayor of Liverpool has slammed “fascist thugs” who have daubed the word “invaders” on a memorial to dead migrants and refugees.
Joe Anderson said those responsible for the attack on The List artwork were “despicable” and had “had their brains invaded by hatred”.
The 280-metre hoarding along the city’s Great George Street features the names of 34,361 people who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe since 1993.
But the installation has proven controversial and has already been torn down twice since it was put up on 12 July as part of the Liverpool Biennial festival. In the latest vandalism, thugs wrote “invaders not refugees!” along the piece.
Mr Anderson said: “To smear them and call them invaders quite frankly is despicable.”
In a tweet, he added: “Those responsible for this defacement of a memorial to innocent dead people fleeing for their lives, have had their brains invaded by hatred.
“We will not be beaten by fascist thugs and we will pay for another memorial. I want volunteers to help me protect it.”
Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu had previously expressed her disappointment at the attacks.
Last month, she issued a joint statement with Liverpool Biennial – the city’s two-yearly contemporary art extravaganza – saying the work had been “repeatedly damaged, removed and targeted since it was installed”.
They said The List has not been defaced anywhere else, including in Berlin, Istanbul, Basel and Athens.
At the same time a Liverpool city council spokesperson said they were “saddened by this mindless act of vandalism” and expressed “surprise and disgust”.
They added: “We will be working with them to try and turn this action into a positive and shine a light on how we need to do more to promote a tolerant and compassionate society.”