NC State Belltower vandalized with red paint

RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) – The Belltower at North Carolina State University has been vandalized.

The words ‘Gaza,’ ‘Rafah’ and ‘Free Palestine’ were sprayed around the base of the tower, surrounded by red painted hand prints.

Red paint was also dripping down the staircase. An employee from NC State sent a photo to WRAL News.

It happened not even two hours after midnight – striking the end of the Memorial Day holiday. The vandals used black paint to cross out the purpose of the Belltower – a tribute to the NC State alumni who died in World War One.

NC State broadcasts a live view of the Belltower at all times, and the feed can be viewed on YouTube. At around the 8:40 mark, two people wearing black can be seen walking around the tower’s base. They appear to be spraying paint on the tower.

Barstool Pack, an NC State Sports Store, said it was ‘disturbing’ to see a memorial for WWI soldiers who died in battle vandalized this close to Memorial Day weekend.

“A disturbing vandalization of our WWI memorial Belltower on Memorial Day,” said a post on Instagram from Barstool Pack.

The Belltower is often seen as a center of celebration, like after winning a game.

“I’ve came here after every single win from the Final Four. This has been here since my dad went to the school,” said NCSU senior Carter Hines. “I was upset that they would deface a monument to the school and to the state on a day that’s supposed to be of remembrance.”

Similar red hand prints were found on the UNC South Building ahead of graduation earlier this month, along with the message, “UNC has blood on its hands.” Similar to the NC State vandalism, red paint was also splashed to drip down the stairs.

“I know protest is important,” said Bob Belknapp, who lives nearby. “But I don’t think vandalism helps any cause.”

The vandalism at NC State comes after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah that caused a fire in a densely populated tent camp that left women and children dead on Sunday. The strike has caused widespread outage, including from some of Israel’s closest allies. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deaths a ‘tragic mishap,’ and Israeli officials say the fire was caused by a secondary explosion, not their original attack.

Come daylight, crews started clearing the paint from the monument. While much of it is gone, the remnants of the message aren’t completely cleared away.

At this time, the university say they are still working to identify the suspects involved in this incident.