Lincoln Memorial vandalized with green paint

WASHINGTON -- The Lincoln Memorial was temporarily closed yesterday after someone splattered green paint on the statue of the 16th president, though the National Park Service said it would reopen by evening.

The apparent vandalism was discovered around 1:30 a.m. yesterday on the statue, the pedestal and the floor, U.S. Park Police said. No words, letters or symbols were visible in the paint.

The marble Lincoln statue had green paint on its shin, coattail, chair and base, and more paint was on the floor of the memorial building.

Capt. Steven Booker said the paint spill "appears intentional based off of the splatter." Police were reviewing security camera footage to try to identify possible suspects, he said.

No suspects had been identified by Friday afternoon. Police officials said they would not release the security footage because the investigation is ongoing.

The memorial chamber was closed all day to allow a National Park Service crew to finish cleaning up the paint. Workers spent hours using pressurized hoses and a chemical paint remover to try to wash it away.

National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said the memorial will be returned to the condition it was in before the vandalism. She said the work was going well by late Friday.

"It is not permanent damage," she said. "Our historic preservation crew knows exactly what they need to do."

The memorial, one of the most popular sites on the National Mall, was dedicated in 1922 to President Abraham Lincoln.

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