At least three Winnipeg buildings were vandalized overnight Wednesday with messages like “Shut Down KKKanada” and “Land Back.”
The Manitoba RCMP D Division headquarters on Portage Avenue, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and MP Dan Vandal’s office were tagged after some protest blockades were dismantled across the country.
The RCMP building was tagged, along with the wall and the monument out front, with the words “F*** RCMP” scrawled on it.
Bobby Baker, D Division director of the National Police Federation, said the federation condemns the actions.
“Their actions are despicable, disgusting, disrespectful, and criminal,” Baker said. “Nearly 250 women and men have lost their lives in the line of duty with the RCMP, many here in Manitoba and as recently as last fall.”
At Vandal’s office, messages sprayed included “U Fail Us” and “Do Better.”
Vandal said he was disappointed his office was vandalized.
“The way out of this issue is through dialogue, not vandalizing something, not violence,” he said from Ottawa.
“People are frustrated on both sides,” he added. “I did have protesters there several weeks ago and I told them the door was always open and when I get back I would like to follow up.”
Vandal’s office was recently the site of an office sleep-in for 11 days, where youth protesters were trying to get the minister of northern affairs to commit to their demands, which included condemning the actions of the B.C. RCMP removing Indigenous people from Wet’suwet’en territory.
Vandal met with the protesters three times during their occupation of the office earlier in February.
At the CMHR, graffiti with ACAB (an acronym for ‘All cops are bastards’) and more swear words were painted near the steps.
John Young, president and CEO of the CMHR, said that while he doesn’t condone graffiti, he recognizes the action as part of “a need to make an expression.”
“I’ll be honest, my first reaction was a little bit of blood boils … but our mandate is to cultivate reflection and as we think about it, this is a reflection of a very important conversation that is going on in Canada,” he said.
“I can’t explain the motivation of people but I think it’s a refection, also, of the polarization that is happening and the conversation, perhaps some frustration and wanting to draw attention to something that matters.”
The museum has reported the graffiti to Winnipeg police, and will hand over surveillance video to investigators, Young said.
He said a crew would be working to clean up the graffiti Wednesday.
Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks as a show of support for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in northwestern B.C. who oppose a natural gas pipeline project cutting across their traditional territory.
In the last two days, demonstrators have set up new sites in Ontario and Quebec, including one that has affected a major commuter rail system serving a huge swath of southern Ontario.
Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver told 680 CJOB Wednesday the force was made aware early Wednesday morning.
“We’re investigating them as linked,” said Carver, adding that the vandalism speaks to the level of passion and emotion people have about the protests across the country.
However, he said, it’s unfortunate that people are vandalizing public property.
“I get that people are upset but I’m unsure how this action gets anyone’s message across.”
Another demonstration is planned for Portage and Main between 3 and 5 p.m. Wednesday.
-With files from Joe Scarpelli and Global National