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Edmonton police are investigating the tagging of a lawn with a large spray-painted swastika.
“Shirley Smith told CTV Edmonton that she was appalled when she saw the white swastika near Northgate Centre,” reports CTV News and The Canadian Press.
Police say that a number of similar investigations are in the works and that the Nazi symbol could be grounds for hate crime charges.
According to CTV News, six graffiti swastikas have been spray-painted around the neighbourhood over a very short period last Thursday, as well as several racist and homophobic slurs that were painted on public property. This will make the seventh.
“Hatred has no place in our city and I want to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any expression of hatred and bigotry,” says Ward 5 councillor Sarah Hamilton.
“No matter what language we speak, where we were born or what we believe, we all want the same things for ourselves and our families.”
The EPS Hate Crimes Unit has since been consulted and police are investigating.
An anti-hate rally has since been planned and is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday outside a Jewish school where one of the swastikas was painted, reports CBC.
“Silence cannot be a response to hate, you have to oppose it,” said Edmonton-McClung MLA Lorne Dach in an interview Monday. “Otherwise people feel they have permission to continue, and it grows. So we have to nip it in the bud.”