Acts of vandalism of Washington monuments are connected, police say

Washington, Jul 30 (EFE).- District of Columbia police said Tuesday that their investigation is leading them to conclude that the acts of vandalism of various Washington monuments and buildings over the past few days are likely connected.

On Monday, police arrested a 58-year-old woman of Chinese origin, Jiamei Tian, who "barely speaks English" and is apparently suffering from "mental health issues." In addition, police said, Tian is homeless and had been roaming around the streets of the capital.

Jia, who is facing charges of destruction of property for defacing two statues and a church with green paint, was arrested near the National Cathedral with a soft drink can filled with green paint a few hours after paint of that color was found splattered on the cathedral's organ.

Authorities said that employees at the cathedral - the sixth largest in the world - found still-fresh paint splattered on the organ in the Bethlehem Chapel, which dates from 1912 and is located in the church's oldest section. Paint was also found splattered in the Children's Chapel in the nave.

A few hours earlier, authorities had found green paint on the base of the statue of Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, outside the Smithsonian's main building on the National Mall.

And last Friday, authorities found green paint splattered on the base of the seated statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

The paint on Henry's statue, in contrast to that found inside the Cathedral and on the Lincoln statue, does not seem to be randomly splattered but rather are deliberately painted symbols, although authorities said they have not been able to decipher them.

The Lincoln Memorial, one of the city's main tourist attractions and a site laden with national symbolism, was reopened shortly after the green paint was found there.

The National Parks Service, which has jurisdiction over federal monuments and lands, said that cleaning crews are continuing to wash and otherwise chemically treat the areas damaged by paint to remove the stains, a process that could take several days.

The National Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral that serves a key spiritual role in U.S. society. The state funerals for several modern presidents - Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford - were held there and President Woodrow Wilson is buried in a memorial bay on the main level.