Thugs pull down city’s jubilant Pride flags and leave an ugly Confederate flag in their place
Homophobes in Louisville, Colorado, have repeatedly torn down the city’s display of Pride flags, leaving a Confederate flag in its place.
On 1 June a group of volunteers pitched in to plant dozens of rainbow flags at a busy intersection in celebration of Pride Month.
Within a week they’d all been stolen, not once but twice – and on one occasion a Confederate flag was left at the scene as a stark message.
“I mean, it’s certainly disappointing,” Louisville mayor Ashley Stolzmann told 9News. “But sometimes when you see something like this negative happen, it kind of reminds you why you need to do this kind of activity.”
Louisville Police said witnesses observed a 74-year-old man yanking several flags from the ground display, but officers couldn’t be sure he was the one who left the Confederate flag.
The man was issued a municipal citation for the offence and the Pride flags were recovered.
But after the display was vandalised a second time, the mayor took to carrying hammers and mallets around with her in case she needs to replace the flags again.
“Unfortunately, as of late I’ve had them in my purse,” Stolzmann said.
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She’s supported by local LGBT+ group Out Boulder County, which has noticed an increase in anti-LGBT+ vandalism this year.
“It’s really amazed me that this year a lot more folks have come out and decided to do more destructive acts like these,” said events manager Juan Moreno.
In his five years with the organisation he believes this is the first time rainbow flags have been targeted in Boulder County.
Fortunately, the group has more than enough Pride flags to outnumber a few angry homophobes.
“We have a closet full of flags right now, and as many as we can get out, we will get out,” Moreno said. “We want folks to know that we’re here.
“We have more flags than they have to burn, so we’ll just keep replenishing and make sure that they stay up.”