The rainbow crossing in Derry, which sits in a prominent position in the city centre, has been defaced by what appears to be white paint.
The crosswalk, which was unveiled in 2021, was the first of its kind all across the island of Ireland at the time, and is supposed to represent not only the LGBTQ+ community but also show that Derry as a confident, diverse and progressive city at peace with itself.
The vandalism has caused anger and revulsion across the locality, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor Rory Farrell told BBC Radio Foyle.
White paint has mysteriously appeared on our rainbow crossing, unsure whether intentional or not. Have contacted relevant department to have it removed. pic.twitter.com/FwP28zEgDb
— Rory Farrell (@rory_farrell) August 3, 2023
“There is anger, sadness and a real sense of disappointment in Derry after this vandalism of the rainbow crossing in our city centre. This is a city that is renowned for the warm welcome it extends to everyone, including our LGBT+ community and I’d like to express my solidarity with them.
“Derry has a vibrant LGBT+ community and they should not feel intimidated as a result of this incident,” he said.
“This vandalism comes in the context of increasing attacks on LGBT+ people across these islands and around the world. We need to send a clear message that this kind of hate will not be tolerated in our city, particularly ahead of our Pride festival later this month.”
— Shá Shá Shá (@shashasha3_sha) August 3, 2023
Farrell made clear that the attack is not representative of the people living in Derry, saying that the colourful rainbow crossing, which has been defaced, “is a cherished Derry landmark that shows support and solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ community and is one of the first of its kind on the island of Ireland.”
He went on to highlight the popularity of the site, stating: “Since it has been installed it has proven very popular amongst locals and tourists alike, with many stopping to have their picture taken.”
Farrell added, the “funding for this crossing was secured by my colleague Brian Tierney during his year as Mayor and received the unanimous support of councillors. It was the first of its kind on our island and many people in this city were justly proud of that fact.”
The police in Derry are treating criminal damage to the rainbow crossing on the Foyle embankment as a hate crime.
Police say it appears to be paint and appealed to anyone with info to get in touch. @PSNIDCSDistrict
Pic: Rory Farrell pic.twitter.com/SxZsmEaBt7
— Dean McLaughlin (@Dean_Journalist) August 3, 2023
The police are currently investigating the criminal damage caused to the crosswalk as a hate crime and have asked anyone with information regarding the incident to come forward.
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