Nfld. & Labrador

Red paint smeared on doors, steps of Basilica Cathedral in St. John's

The doors and steps of the Basilica Cathedral in St. John's were splattered with red paint Thursday, in what appears to be the latest in a series of events across Canada following the finding of over 1,000 unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools across the country.

Similar incidents have taken place across Canada over past week

Red paint was splattered on the doors and steps of the Basilica Cathedral in St. John's. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Red paint was seen splattered over some steps and doors of the Basilica Cathedral in St. John's Thursday morning, following a series of similar events across Canada after more than 1,000 unmarked graves were found on the grounds of former residential schools across the country.

Paint was seen across the door handle of the church's parish, along with being smeared across the steps of the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese on Military Rd. 

A cleaning crew was on the scene with a pressure washer Thursday morning.

CBC News has asked the Basilica and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for comment but haven't received a reply yet.

It's unclear when or why the paint was placed on the steps and door of the cathedral. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Across Canada over the past week, there have been several instances in which red paint has been smeared on statues and churches in response to the finding of unmarked graves, many believed to the remains of children, at residential schools in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. In some locations, churches have been set on fire.

The Catholic Church has been criticized for its role in the residential school system.

However, residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador were not operated by the Catholic Church, instead run by the International Grenfell Association and the Moravian Church.

The Basilica was built in St. John's in 1855, and serves as an iconic part of the city skyline. It was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1983.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419. A Saskatchewan-based line is now available by calling 306-522-7494. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Mark Cumby