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OPP have concluded that several chalk messages written overnight in Athens, Ont., in support of the Black Lives Matter movement were “peaceful” but are continuing an investigation into “racially motivated” vandalism at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.
The Black Lives Matter messages, marked in chalk across sidewalks and businesses, appeared overnight on Main Street.
Some mentioned George Floyd‘s death — a Black man killed last month in police custody in the United States — while others simply said “BLM.”
The messages appeared just hours after another message was discovered in Charleston Lake Provincial Park, which OPP have said was racist.
OPP would not elaborate on what the reported act of vandalism said, noting it was part of an investigation.
Police would also not say whether the two incidents were linked, adding that they couldn’t speculate on the motivation behind the chalk messages in Athens.
An OPP spokesperson said the chalk messages were reported to OPP as vandalism early Monday morning, but the investigation ended before noon.
“OPP respects the right of everyone to freedom of expression. As this was chalk, there was no malicious damage done,” an OPP spokesperson said.
The chalk was quickly washed off the sidewalks by the township, and no charges will be laid.
As for the racist message found in Charleston Lake Provincial Park, OPP said the attending officer helped remove it and police are still investigating the incident.
More to come.