A woman is believed to have painted a statue of Pope John Paul II, which stands outside the Catholic Church of the Holy Rosary at the corner of 114th Avenue and 106th Street, police said in a press release Sunday. The base of the statue featured dozens of handprints painted red, and the name of the former pope was smeared with red paint.
The EPS currently has no age or description of the suspect, but claims the incident happened shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The service’s Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has been made aware of the vandalism, but the investigation file will remain with the PSA until the Hate Crimes Unit has been able to properly assess the situation. indicated the police.
There are no further details available at this time, they added.
Parishioners attending Polish masses on Sunday were shocked when they saw the statue, said Andrzej Makarewicz, first vice-president of the Canadian Polish Congress Alberta Society.
“This is a hate crime,” he said, adding that the vandalism is hurting the community.
Makarewicz was particularly troubled by security footage captured by the church which showed at least two cars whose drivers witnessed the vandalism but did nothing.
Since the remains of 215 children were found at a former residential site near Kamloops, British Columbia a month ago, several churches across Canada have been vandalized with red paint. Some statues of Christian leaders and personalities who played a role in Canada’s colonial past have been painted red or demolished by protesters.
The incident reported by police in Edmonton on Saturday night comes days after 751 anonymous graves were discovered near the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan.
Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools and for those triggered by the latest reports.
A national residential school crisis line has been established to provide support to residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.