Komagata Maru memorial defaced again on 100th anniversary
Vancouver Park Board tries to clean it, makes it worse
The Komagata Maru memorial has been defaced for the second time this year just as B.C. prepares to commemorate on Friday the ship's arrival in Vancouver exactly 100 years ago.
Vancouver Park Board commissioner Niki Sharma says graffiti was discovered about a week ago on a portion of the monument where someone had spray painted, "Owen is gay."
The park board removed the graffiti, but the chemicals used in the cleaning process also removed the rusty boat-like finish that is part of its overall design.
Sharma says the park board will have it properly restored, but it won't be in time for Friday's ceremonies. Instead, she says it will be covered with something appropriate.
She says the vandalism is unfortunate, but she doesn't believe it was intentionally hateful.
"I am hopeful in the sense where I feel like it wasn’t a hateful act," she said.
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"I think it was just a matter of it being a public monument in the space, but it underscores the importance of telling the story. It’s such an important monument that people need to know why it’s there and what it represents."
In January, a man was photographed urinating on the memorial. He apologized and no charges were laid after police determined he was a mentally ill drug addict.
The memorial commemorates an incident in Canadian history when on May 23, 1914, 376 immigrants from India seeking asylum anchored in Vancouver harbour for two months because they were not allowed to disembark. They were eventually forced to return to India where 20 passengers were killed in an ensuing riot.
The Komagata Maru memorial was erected in 2012.