Elected Officials Respond to Last Week’s Vandalism in the Common and Public Garden

Local elected officials were disheartened to see several landmarks on the Boston Common and in the Public Garden tagged with alleged pro-Palestinian graffiti just ahead of the July 4 holiday.

According to published reports, Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Common, along with 15 park benches, were all tagged with red graffiti. The words ‘Free Gaza’ were spraypainted on the Public Garden footbridge while the George Washington Statue in the Public Garden was tagged with the phrase, ‘End Zionism,’ among other acts of reported vandalism in the two parks. (The City of Boston has since removed the graffiti.)

Boston Police have categorized the spate of vandalism as a hate crime and said that six possible suspects were caught on video around 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, but no arrests have been made to date.

Mayor Michelle Wu told WCVB-TV in the immediate aftermath of the crimes: “The Public Garden and the Common are some of the most visible places in the city, especially on a weekend, a week and a holiday like July 4th, when we are welcoming people from all around the city and region and world.”

Rep. Jay Livingstone told this reporter: “I think it’s offensive and wrong. If people want to show their support for Palestine, they shouldn’t be using anti-Semitic language, and there’s no need to deface public [landmarks].”

District 8 City Councilor Sharon Durkan said in a statement: “When city staff and the Graffiti Busters team were made aware of vandalism on the Boston Common, they responded quickly, but there was a lot of ground to cover, on a day when they should’ve been able to enjoy a day with their families. I’m grateful for their dedication, but it shouldn’t have been necessary. In a time where hundreds and thousands visit our Parks in record numbers, both residents and visitors, it’s a shame that vandals targeted historical monuments during a time when we should be celebrating and reflecting on our nation’s history.”

Likewise, District 2 City Councilor Ed Flynn posted on X (formerly Twitter) he was “disgusted” by this “antisemitic and anti-American…desecration of [the] memorials,” and that be believes this act of vandalism should be prosecuted a hate crime.

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