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Moncton community upset after swastikas painted at skate park
HALIFAX -- On Sunday, faded red lines were all that remained of two large swastikas spray-painted at a community skate park in downtown Moncton. City crews washed away most of the paint, but residents are left wondering if there's more to be concerned about – or if it was just an insensitive prank.
"I was very surprised and kind of disturbed by the fact that this actually happened around here,” says resident, Rheal Babineau. “I've never seen anything like that around parks here."
Mayor Dawn Arnold says she became aware of the graffiti after residents reached out to her Friday night.
“People were just sad,” says Arnold. “They were sad that this had happened, and they wanted to make sure I was aware of it so we could get it cleaned up.”
Arnold says crews were on-site early Saturday morning to wash away the Nazi symbols.
"It has no place in our community anywhere. We have zero-tolerance for it, so that's it," says Arnold.
The symbols have been cause for concern from young people who frequent the skate park. Thirteen-year-old Kael Latuleppe has been skating at the park since he was a little boy. He says he worries about the message the symbols send to younger children.
"It's been since I was five or six that I've been coming here, and it's really fun and enjoyable, but I think that it's not a safe environment for little children sometimes,” says Latuleppe. “So I think that people should start talking about it to make it safe."
Codiac RCMP say they didn’t receive an initial call about the vandalism, but later sent an officer to the area once they were notified of the graffiti.
Babineau and his wife often bring their two young grandsons to the park and say their grandsons could be disturbed by the symbols.
"They're familiar with those kinds of terms, so I don't know how much they would understand,” says Babineau. “But they know it ain't a good thing."
Babineau also notes not knowing who's responsible for the graffiti is concerning.
"It's hard to make a judgement on that because you don't know how serious this actually is,” says Babineau. “Is it a movement that's making itself known, or is it just somebody who just thinks it was a funny joke?”
Arnold says security may have to be increased at the park.
"We're having that discussion around a lot of our parks and trails and that sort of thing – cameras or security measures of some sort,” says Arnold. “So, that's probably going to be on the radar for this area as well."
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate and are looking into whether or not the act was caught on camera by security cameras in the area. Police ask anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them or Crime Stoppers.