Toronto Police/Twitter

Police Investigating Swastika Painted on Rainbow Crosswalk as a Hate Crime

This is the fifth pride crosswalk vandalized in Canada alone.

Toronto Police are investigating as a hate crime the defacement of a rainbow crosswalk with a swastika in the gay village.

Police shared a photograph of the damage, saying they were searching for the individuals responsible, calling the act “despicable.”

The incident reportedly happened in the middle of the day, officials said, “right in the open,” on Thursday, CTV News reports.

Witnesses said they saw two men with their faces covered spray paint the Pride crosswalk, located at the intersections of Church and Alexander Streets, then quickly run away. The hateful imagery has since been covered over.

“Last night it happened that we were aware and able to remove the offensive graffiti quickly,” the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association said in a statement. “The goal was to give the offender no satisfaction from the deed and to show a united front against hate in our community.”

“Following the act information was posted on our Facebook page to help the community quickly inform police of such actions if they occur in the future.”

Police also placed posters up in the area following the incident to show support for minority communities and encourage the reporting of future hate crimes.

Hate crimes have been on the rise in the city, with CBC reporting they increased 28% from 2016 to 2017, with 186 “hate-motivated occurrences” recorded. Vandalism and graffiti have been chief among them.

This is not the first time a rainbow crosswalk has been vandalized.

In fact, there have been at least four other instances of Pride walkways intentionally damaged in Canada alone, with vandals targeting Courtenay (British Columbia), Eastern Passage (Nova Scotia), Lethbridge (Alberta), Surrey (B.C.), and Waterloo (Ontario).

Journalist, editor, and artist.