An historic monument that marks Karl Marx’s grave has been vandalised in a suspected “far right” act of political vandalism.
The chief executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, Ian Dungavell, said gardeners had noticed the damage on Monday, but believes it could have been done as early as Friday.
The north London cemetery trustee said: “This is a really important part of the monument and it seems to be a pretty crude form of political vandalism.”
He said he suspected it was politically motivated because most of the damage was done to the inscription of the name of the philosopher and avoided that of his wife, Jenny von Westphalen, who is also buried there.
The vandals targeted an original gravestone which Marx himself had purchased, which was set in place after his burial in 1883.
The monument, which has become a site of pilgrimage for the admirers of his work, was constructed in 1954 and incorporated the gravestone.
Dungavell said: “What’s upsetting is attempts to make vandalism part of the political process, but I’m heartened by the people who aren’t Marxists but know it’s not the way to treat the monument of such an important historical figure.
“If it is a far-right ideological attack, then people will know it’s wrong and we need to have political debate out in the open and not resort to crude vandalism.”
Dungavell said he had reported the incident to the police, but without any evidence or witnesses did not expect the culprit to be found.
The trustee said he expected the damage was done by someone “hitting it repeatedly with a metal instrument.”
He added they would get specialists to repair the damage but said: “it will never be the same again.”
The monument has been attacked previously, most notably during the 1970s, when according to Dungavell, vandals damaged the face of the bust and attempted to put a bomb inside it to destroy it.