Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan have condemned the recent antisemitic desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.
Ottawa police are searching for a man they say carved hateful graffiti at the National War Memorial. Police say the man used a sharp object to etch graffiti onto the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the memorial at Wellington and Elgin streets.
It happened around 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, police said.
“The antisemitic desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is completely unacceptable, and I strongly condemn this hateful act, Trudeau stated in a tweet. “I urge anyone with information regarding the perpetrator’s identity to contact Ottawa Police.”
The vandalism was “despicable,” tweeted Sajjan. “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents the gallantry and the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom. On Remembrance Day, we’ll come together to recognize our veterans.”
Police described the man as white and wearing a light-coloured sweater, dark pants, a dark toque and carrying a black back pack. He was riding a mountain-style bike, police said.
The graffiti were removed within 24 hours, said Ottawa police spokesperson Const. Amy Gagnon. “We don’t know yet what motivated this person,” she added.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay called it a “disgusting act.”
“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 services of Canada,” he said in a statement.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called it an “insult and disgrace to our war dead and veterans. If anyone recognizes this lowlife, please contact police,” Watson said in a tweet.”
In a statement, Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Thomas Irvine said it’s “unthinkable that anyone would deface this sacred place…we strongly condemn this criminal act.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact a Hate Crime Investigations Unit detective at 613-236-1222 extension 5453 or to leave an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers.