OTTAWA — Police in Ottawa are investigating an incident of hate-motivated graffiti at the National War Memorial.
The alleged incident happened last Friday night, when police say a man used a sharp object to engrave a hateful message on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Police say a man approached the area on a mountain bike just before 10 p.m., and left on the bike shortly afterward.
They say he was wearing a light-coloured sweater, dark pants, a dark toque and a black backpack.
The incident came just days ahead of the anniversary of a gunman opening fire at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22, 2014, killing ceremonial Honour Guard reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24.
A spokeswoman for Ottawa police said it’s not clear whether the incident is connected to, or motivated by, the attack.
“We don’t know if the timing has anything to do with it. We don’t know yet what motivated this person,” Gagnon said in a phone interview.
The graffiti was removed within 24 hours, Gagnon said. She declined to describe it in any more detail, other than to say it was an image that targeted a particular group.
In a statement denouncing the vandalism, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan described the image as an “anti-Semitic symbol” but gave no other details.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay called the act “disgusting” and asked all Canadians to condemn it.
“This was not the vandalization of public property — it was the desecration of a site that stands as a permanent reminder of the memories and sacrifices of every single person who has fought and died in service of Canada,” MacAulay said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.
The Canadian Press