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Multiple Massachusetts Landmarks Vandalized with Anti-Israel Graffiti

Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn, a U.S. Navy veteran, blasted a “disgusting” hate crime that left several monuments in the Common and Public Garden defaced with “antisemitic and anti-American” graffiti on the eve of Independence Day.

Flynn was on hand at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, dedicated to U.S. servicemen from the city who died in the Civil War, in the Boston Common Friday, where, despite the efforts of city cleaning crews, messages of “Free Palestine” and “Death to Amerikkka” were still noticeable on the monument, stairs and benches.

“On July 3 into July 4, to desecrate and vandalize memorials to American soldiers and sailors and our veterans is beyond disappointing,” said Flynn, while clad in a U.S. Navy baseball cap. “It’s disgusting and there should be no place in society for that type of hate crime.”

Flynn said he’s looking for arrests to be made, and if there’s enough evidence to warrant bringing hate crime charges against the perpetrator(s), he supports that and would push for the acts of vandalism to be prosecuted that way as well. “I do believe these are hate crimes when you target the Jewish community with horrific messages and you also target American veterans,” Flynn said.

A Boston Police report categorizes the vandalism, which took place on the night of July 3, roughly 10 minutes before the start of the Independence Day holiday, as a “hate/bias” crime that was referred to the department’s civil rights unit. About six “unknown” suspects were caught on surveillance camera, but no arrests were made as of Friday evening, the report and a police spokesman said.

Upon arrival, a responding officer “observed 15 benches around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument vandalized with graffiti and it said ‘Death to Amerikkka,’” the police report states. The message was seemingly referencing the KKK or Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist far-right terror group, and was particularly notable for being scrawled on and around a monument dedicated to the Civil War, which led to the end of slavery in the United States.

Flynn said he was uncertain as to what the reference was about specifically, in terms of the way it appeared in the anti-American graffiti, but he interpreted it as a message of “division,” “hate” and “violence that has no place in our city.”

The same message was scrawled in the same red paint on the monument, along with one that read “Free Palestine.”

The monument was also covered “all over” in stickers that said, “Resist until victory and free Palestine.” While the police report references only the vandalism that occurred on and around the Soldiers and Sailors monument, Flynn pointed to photos, which he posted on social media, that show similar messages painted onto the equestrian statue of George Washington in the Public Garden and the Public Garden Foot Bridge.

Those respective messages read, “End Zionism” and “Free Gaza.” Mayor Michelle Wu said police are investigating the incident, while speaking to reporters at an unrelated event on Friday.

She thanked City Hall employees who worked throughout the July 4 holiday to clean up the graffiti from the Common and Garden, areas that Wu described as “some of the most visible places in the city,” particularly during a week when visitors were coming from “all around the city and region and world.” Much of the vandalism was centered around the Israel-Hamas War, but Boston’s Commissioner of Veterans Services Robert Santiago, upon seeing the faded graffiti on the Common for the first time Friday afternoon, said defacing monuments “really does no good to anyone’s cause.” “It’s just sad and frustrating,” Santiago said. “Defacing monuments that are there for honoring the sacrifices of our sailors and soldiers in this case over here, it really does nobody any good.”

Adding insult to injury was the war monuments were vandalized “on the eve of the birth of our country,” Santiago said. “It’s just frustrating.”