Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has said that rainbow crossings in the city – vandalised twice in one week with homophobic graffiti – will be made permanent.
The Pride-themed crossings were installed for Paris Pride, Marche des Fiertés, at the end of June.
However, the rainbow additions were targeted by vandals twice in one week – on June 25 and June 28 – who covered them with paint and scrawled homophobic messages, including “LGBT get out of France” and “LGBT dictatorship.”
The vandalism was promptly cleaned up and widely condemned, including by mayor Hidalgo.“Paris is a safe haven that embraces the republican values of freedom, equality and fraternity,” she wrote on Twitter.
“For they fall forever in its walls, crosswalks rainbow sky created for #MarcheFesFiertés will be permanent!”
The unidentified vandals also wrote “Hidalgo dégage” on one of the crossings, which translates to “Hidalgo get out,” in a direct message to the mayor.
One Paris resident had posted photos of the vandalised crossings to Twitter, adding: “These homophobic tags are a reflection of all the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQIs everywhere in France and in the world, we will fight them relentlessly.”
Mayor Hidalgo had earlier responded to the vandalism, tweeting: “Last night the rainbow crosswalk in Marais has been vandalized again. This act of homophobia won’t go unpunished.
“The Prosecutor of the Republic will be seized. The municipal agents will clean up this morning.”
She also posted a video to Twitter of graffiti being removed from a rainbow crossing using a jet-wash.
Hidalgo added: “Thanks to the agents of the City of Paris, already on the ground to once again clean the rainbow pedestrian crossings of the Marais.”
Many prominent LGBT people and allies also condemned the repeated vandalism.
Following the first incident, openly gay Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard said: “The homophobic degradation of our city’s rainbow decorations is unacceptable.
“This new manifestation of hideous hatred will only strengthen our determination to fight against discrimination without fail.”
Out politician Jean-Luc Romero added: “Anti-LGBTQI hatred struck at the heart of Paris. Our answer is Saturday, when hundreds of thousands of people will parade for the Pride Walk!”
Mayor Hidalgo has stated that more rainbow crossings will be added around Paris following the crimes.
This move has been welcomed by many in Paris’ LGBT community, with one person writing: “After this vandalism, I expect Hidalgo to repaint all pedestrian crossings in Paris the colours of the rainbow.”