Signs posted along the Town Green, showing Hamas hostages in now-ubiquitous images, were ripped out of the ground Wednesday morning and strewn about.
Norwalk Police are investigating the vandalism.
“This morning we received a report that signs of Israeli hostages that were posted at the Norwalk Green were knocked down,” Chief James Walsh said in an email. “The Norwalk Police Detective Bureau is actively investigating, and we ask that anyone who may have seen this occur or may have any information related to this incident please call the Norwalk Police Detective Bureau.”
The Green, located along East Avenue, belongs to the First Taxing District.
First Taxing District Water Department General Manager Eleanor Militana said a woman acting on her own asked for permission to put up the signs just before Thanksgiving. She was given a greenlight, on the provision that they not obstruct activities that were planned to happen on the Green.
The “kidnapped” posters were created by a visual poet and a graffiti artist in an attempt to ensure that the 200-plus hostages were not forgotten as the war proceeds in Gaza, the Guardian reports. They swiftly spread across the world and are seen by some as a propaganda push to justify Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
The New York Times reports that the posters have been plastered all over but also torn down, and folks caught in the act have suffered consequences. Some are Jewish.
“Displaying the posters has become a form of activism, keeping the more than 200 hostages seized by Hamas in full view of the public,” the Times reports. “But removing the posters has quickly emerged as its own form of protest — a release valve and also a provocation by those anguished by what they say was the Israeli government’s mistreatment of Palestinians in the years before Oct. 7 and since the bombing of Gaza began.”
Norwalkers commenting in a NextDoor post early Wednesday were shocked to see the signs removed.
“I was horrified to see that someone decided to destroy something that someone worked so hard on and it upset me to the point of making me sick to my stomach that people just don’t respect each other,” wrote a woman who posted photos of the vandalism.
“I think you need to call the police. I think it’s a hate crime,” came a reply.
Militana said she’d learned of the vandalism after Norwalk Customer Service received a complaint and then contacted the First Taxing District.
There was no indication of who did it, but the signs were uprooted, she said. They include images of children being held by Hamas.
The debris had been cleaned up Wednesday afternoon. Militana said she expects the signs to be reinstalled.
Norwalk Police anonymous tip line: 203-854-3111 Detective Bureau information line: 203-854-1011 Norwalk Police website: www.norwalkpd.com Anonymous TEXT tips can be submitted by typing “NORWALKPD” into the text field, followed by the message, and sending it to TIP411 (847411)