Hamilton, Ontario skyline
Hamilton, Ontario skylineiStock

Police in Hamilton, Ontario have opened a hate crime investigation after a swastika and white supremacist messages were written on the side of the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, the Hamilton Spectator reported.

“Hate crime in Hamilton is not acceptable,” Hamilton police said in a statement.

They urged anyone in the area with security cameras to check footage taken between 1 and 2:15 a.m. They are also asking owners of nearby parked cars with dash cams to come forward if they have any recorded footage that could help identify the perpetrators.

The market and library building where the farmer’s market is located are owned by the city. They initially covered up the graffiti on five windows of the building with garbage bags.

After police finished investigating the scene, the city removed the graffiti “ensuring the public and vendors can access the market free from hateful symbols,” spokesperson Aisling Higgins told the news outlet.

“We condemn racism in all forms and (are) opposed to any imagery, speech or action that is hate-motivated,” Higgins said.

Lyndon George, executive director of the Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre, said that hate incidents are occurring more frequently in Hamilton. “When they happen we need to ensure we call them out and report them.”

In October 2021, Councillors in the city of Hamilton, Ontario unanimously voted to ban hate symbols such as the swastika and the Confederate flag from city property. The measure came after the city garnered a reputation as a hotbed of hate crime in recent years.