Get the latest on this story: Twice vandalized, Pride flag will rise again in small Alberta town
Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, a vandal crept into Confederation Park in the southern Alberta town of Taber and burned the Pride flag — destroying it for the second time in as many weeks.
This year is the first time the Pride flag has been flown in Taber, a town of just under 10,000 located about 50 kilometres east of Lethbridge.
"It's a total hate crime," said Kathleen McKenzie, co-chair of the Taber Equality Alliance Society.
"They've definitely got a lot of hate going on and the only way to fight hate is with love and that's how we're going to fight it. The flag will go back up."
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This was the second time the flag has been destroyed since it was raised June 12.
On June 18, the previous flag was found shredded and tied to tree branches.
The latest flag was raised days later and officials took provisions to protect it.
"The town greased the flagpole. They put a solution on it so [vandals] wouldn't be able to climb it because that's how they presume they got up there the first time," said McKenzie.
"We're not sure how they burned it. I imagine it was throwing up things lit on fire."
Surveillance cameras filming in the park were also covered the first time the flag was vandalized.
"It's scary that someone can burn something that is just representing freedom," said McKenzie.
Lethbridge Pride is donating another flag to the group, which will be raised at a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the flagpole in Confederation Park, which is near the town hall.
"It's really important," said McKenzie.
"We're going to raise the flag one more time and we'll do it again if we have to before the 30th. We were given the OK to fly it from [June] 12th to 30th and it will fly.
"If we have to put it up three more times or four more times, it will continue to be up there."
A Pride flag painted on a crosswalk in Lethbridge was also vandalized last week when tar was poured overtop it, days after tire skid marks were found on it.
Taber police were not available for comment on Sunday.
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