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Ottawa police opt against laying charges after ‘desecration’ at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


The Ottawa Police Service says it is not charging a person linked to what Canada’s defence minister not too long ago referred to as a “desecration” of the metropolis’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Last week, footage circulated on social media of a July 24 nighttime incident wherein an American flag was draped over the tomb, which is situated at the National War Memorial website in downtown Ottawa. A person could possibly be seen in some of the footage.

“The man was identified and spoken to,” the Ottawa Police Service mentioned in an e-mail to CBC News. “He showed remorse for the incident and police are confident that he will not repeat it.”

The tomb and the National War Memorial are open to all guests who wish to ponder the sacrifices of “our military community,” the Department of National Defence informed CBC. 

But the website is taken into account “a symbol of sombre tribute that should be respected by all who visit it and not used for messaging for any ideological perspective,” the division added. 

Anita Anand, the Minister of National Defence, mentioned in a tweet that the “desecration of this memorial is unacceptable and shameful.”

“It is very disappointing to see disrespect [there],” echoed Yasir Naqvi, the MP for Ottawa Centre, in a press release despatched to CBC News. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides United States flags for individuals to drape on caskets or coffins to honour the navy service of veterans and reservists, whereas federal guidelines for displaying the flag in different circumstances say to by no means let the flag contact something beneath it.

The authorities company accountable for the website says it is now mulling recommendations on the right way to higher shield conflict memorials in the future following a collection of incidents at the website.

Site patrolled throughout half the day

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which is accountable for the website, mentioned the monuments are below 24-hour video surveillance. The July 24 incident was flagged to police after a assessment of digital camera footage early the subsequent morning. 

A commissionaire additionally routinely patrols the monuments from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the company mentioned. 

“At this time, we cannot comment on future plans for greater security at the monuments,” PSPC informed CBC News.

Daniel Coates, an Ottawa resident who wrote Naqvi with concern about the American flag incident, mentioned the website ought to be below 24-hour guard. 

“It deserves that kind of protection,” Coates mentioned. “And we’re a big enough country to be able to pull it off.”

17 desecrations in final 5 years

The American flag incident just isn’t the first time conduct at the memorial website has come below scrutiny this yr.

During the Freedom Convoy protests, a girl danced on the tomb. There had been additionally experiences of individuals urinating on the tomb, in response to the Department of Public Works and Government Services. 

Police recognized the girl who danced on the tomb however didn’t cost her, saying she had been spoken to and confirmed regret.

In a report tabled this past June, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs acknowledged it believed “alternative dispute resolution mechanisms would more likely have a positive impact in terms of both deterrence and awareness” than in the end fining somebody as much as $1,000 for committing mischief against a conflict memorial. 

People maintain a vigil in entrance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 2022 amid protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and public well being restrictions. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

The committee heard from the Department of Public Works and Government Services that in the previous 5 years, there have been 17 reported incidents of desecration at the National War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument.

Five of these incidents — not together with the more moderen incident with the American flag — occurred since Jan. 28, 2022. 

“The limited number of these types of incidents to date may not have warranted a more robust plan specific to the memorials, but that could change,” in response to the committee’s report. 

  • Read the committee’s full report here or at the backside of the story. 

The committee really useful that PSPC develop “a response plan specifically for federal memorials” and assessment its “security incident playbook” to make sure it meets “the needs for potential future mass protests or gatherings.”

PSPC mentioned it’s presently reviewing these suggestions.

As for whether or not “improved signage” ought to be put in at the website, the committee concluded that “it would be surprising if individuals who disrespect monuments were to suddenly feel ashamed about their behaviour when they see a sign.”

Fencing at the website not thought of a everlasting resolution

The standing committee’s report additionally provides new particulars about the set up of a fence round the National War Memorial which proved contentious in early February throughout the Freedom Convoy protests. 

After the reported desecrations throughout the protests, the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission requested that PSPC set up a short-term barrier to guard the monuments.

It was the first time, aside from building work, that such fencing was put in round the monuments, in response to the Department of National Defence.

“It’s a shame, in our view, to have to fence around a monument to protect it,” Stéphan Déry, assistant deputy minister of Public Works and Government Services, informed the committee. “It’s also a public place to allow more than a million people to pay their respects to those who have given their lives.”

After protesters eliminated the fencing on Feb. 12, PSPC determined to not reinstall it as a result of the Ottawa Police Service “feared that parts could be used as projectiles,” in response to the committee’s report. 

“Thankyou www.cbc.ca For Providing This News.”


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