Rainbow flags have been torn down, burned and homophobic graffiti has been discovered at sites in Edinburgh and Fife in the past few days.
In Kirkcaldy, with Fife Pride just around the corner on 6th July, a rainbow flag was torn down by two men at a shopping arcade in the seaside town. The flag was later found burned nearby.
However, on 9th June a replacement flag was also ripped down for a second time in the same location by four men captured on the Olympia Shopping Arcade’s CCTV system.
One local businessman, Amby Stanyer-Hunter, speaking to the Fife Free Press, said the acts have actually brought out the best in the locals community spirit:
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Half a century, we really should be over this by now. This is officially Pride month so that’s why we put the flags up. We are planning to put a lot more up and have a jolly old arcade!”
“While they’ve done what they’ve done out of hate, it’s certainly brought a lot of love out. We had a positive ID in about half an hour – that’s the power of social media!”
The arcade have also had offers to donate new Pride decorations for the businesses from locals shocked at these acts.
Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, homophobic graffiti was discovered at the historical Jacob’s Ladder in the Calton Hill area on 11th June (the second time in as many weeks) and it was accompanied by a swastika.
The area, which first appeared on a city map in 1784 and connects the Scottish Government buildings and Royal High School area with Waverley Station, had recently benefitted from a £150,000 upgrade.
But the vandals didn’t stop there, they have now also targeted the New Calton Burial Ground nearby on Regent Road, with “Allwz Hate Gays” sprayed across graves and walls in the historic cemetery.
“It’s very concerning and is the second such incident in a very short space of time which hopefully means its the work of one person” said city councillor Joanna Mowatt, speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News.
Police Scotland are to deploy temporary CCTV cameras and plain clothes officers in the Calton Hill area and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Sgt David Tench said,
“We take all types of hate crime seriously and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We are taking these incidents very seriously and we are working closely with our partners at City of Edinburgh Council to ensure that the graffiti is cleaned off quickly.”
Anyone with information should contact 101.