LETHBRIDGE - They will not sit in fear and sorrow because of acts of bigotry. They will get louder and prouder and even more visible in the community.
That statement comes from Devon Hargreaves, Board Chair of the Lethbridge Pride Fest, who says for the second time in just a few days, the Pride crosswalk that was painted just one week ago, has been vandalized.
Located at the intersection of 3rd Avenue South and 6th Street South, the Pride Society recently asked Lethbridge City Council for permission to paint the temporary Pride and Transgender crosswalks, at their own cost, to celebrate Pride Week in the city.
On Monday, visible skid marks were found on both crosswalks, while overnight (June 15) black Tremclad paint and piles of manure were left on the rainbow crosswalk.
The area was closed to traffic Thursday morning, while city crews tried to clean up the mess. Cost to taxpayers for cleanup is estimated to be about $1,000.
Mayor Chris Spearman has issued a statment saying if it was deliberate, it is incredibly disappointing.
"As a community, we will continue to embrace and celebrate diversity, and we encourage everyone to come together for Pride Fest events in the coming week."
A complaint has also been made to Lethbridge Police. Constable Ryan Darroch says paint cans were found in an alley nearby, and they are treating the events as Criminal Mischief and Vandalism.
"We do have some investigative leads to go with, and if anyone has any further information, any suspicious vehicles that were seen or suspicious persons in the area, shortly after midnight of June 15th, or just before, please call Lethbridge Police Service."
He says the ironic part is that crews paid by the City of Lethbridge must now clean up the damage caused by whomever defaced the crosswalks.
"It's an issue that's cauterized our community. There's a lot of strong opinions, and it's a dynamic situation. We treat every single one of these as a mischief to property, and us as police investigate them as we would in any situation like this."
He says getting video surveillance of the area at the time the incidents occured, is part of their investigation, although he would not say whether they in fact have any photos, video or suspects at this time.
He does say police are testing the paint cans found, for any forensic evidence, including fingerprints.
Hargreaves says these acts will bring the community closer together.
"We urge all community members from across the city, and surrounding area, who are just as enraged as we are- to join us on Monday, June 19 at Lethbridge City Hall at 6:30 pm to raise the Rainbow Flag and show just how inclusive this city is."
Pride Week in Lethbridge runs from Jun 16 - 24.
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