VILE bigots targeted a memorial to those who risked their lives in the fight against fascism with white power graffiti. 

The racist louts daubed a Celtic Cross symbol - which is associated with the far-right - on a memorial in Motherwell's Duchess of Hamilton Park, dedicated to 40 North Lanarkshire volunteers who joined the International Brigades to fight against General Franciso Franco in the Spanish Civil War. 

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The vandals also wrote the word "vermin" at the foot of a memorial and the name Franco on two stones commemorating the volunteers. 

Glasgow Times: Credit: Derek WatsonCredit: Derek Watson

White power symbols were also sprayed on the ground and a nearby wall. 

It comes just a few weeks before the community is to remember those who volunteered on the Republican side of the war between 1936 and 1939. 

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Glasgow Times:

The area's MSP, Clare Adamson, said she was "gutted" by the defacement of the memorial. 

Gillian Mackay, a Green MSP for Central Scotland said: "This graffiti appearing weeks before annual commemorations is particularly callous. The right-wing nature of it is concerning. I'll shortly be in touch with the committee at the park to see what support they need."

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Glasgow Times:

North Lanarkshire Council tweeted about the incident, calling it an "appalling act of vandalism". 

A local father and son cleaned up the graffiti, reports the BBC

Steven McGowan and his six-year-old boy travelled from Wishaw to take off the paint. 

Glasgow Times: Credit: Derek WatsonCredit: Derek Watson

Millions, including British author George Orwell, were inspired to join the efforts to defeat Franco in his ultimately successful fight to reinstate the Spanish monarchy and rule the country as a fascist dictator. 

Historians estimate Franco's regime to have resulted in the deaths of between 30,000 and 50,000 people, through his use of forced labour, concentration camps and executions. 

A police spokesman said: "We received a report around 12 noon on Saturday, June 26, that a memorial in Duchess Park, Motherwell, had been vandalised. Enquiries are at an early stage."