By John Ensor •
Published: 08 Nov 2023 • 9:35
Credit: Chris McKenna/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
WITH Remembrance Day nearing, war memorials around the UK are increasingly coming into focus. A recent incident in Greater Manchester has led to heightened surveillance in Britain’s cities and towns.
In a contemptible act, the Rochdale Cenotaph has been defaced with ‘Free Palestine’ graffiti. This event comes just before Armistice Day commemorations, prompting a police investigation, writes GB News.
The offensive inscription appeared on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 7. This followed a distressing event on Monday, where the cenotaph’s poppy wreaths were damaged. Rochdale Council has condemned these actions as wholly inexcusable and is cooperating with the police inquiry.
In a series of posts, Rochdale Borough Council published a response online: ‘During the weekend of 4 and 5 November we became aware of a video about Rochdale Cenotaph that had been posted on social media. We looked into the issues raised in the video and issued a response on Monday 6 November.
‘After we published our response there was an incident at the Cenotaph and two people were arrested and have been charged with intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance. Following this, the council removed and replaced a number of damaged poppy wreaths.’
It seems this wasn’t the end of the matter, as vandals returned to the scene. Once again Rochdale authorities had to address the issue: ‘On the afternoon of Tuesday 7 November graffiti was sprayed on the Cenotaph. This is totally unacceptable and is also being investigated by police. The graffiti will be removed as soon as we are able to.
‘As we said in our initial response – we are proud of our strong links with our armed forces community. Our war memorials and monuments are incredibly important and should be respected by everyone at all times.’
The council confirmed the swift action taken to rectify the problem by adding: ‘The graffiti at the Cenotaph has now been removed. We will check again in the morning and ensure that any remaining traces not visible in darkness are cleared.’
Greater Manchester Police Rochdale district, Chief Superintendent Nicky Porter added her voice, sharing the district’s dismay, ‘We join communities across Rochdale in being deeply saddened by the incidents at the Cenotaph – the memorial is a particularly poignant reminder of those who have given their lives to our country, particularly at this time year.’
She went on to explain that criminal disrespect would not be tolerated, and reassured the public that the area was being monitored by CCTV cameras and regular police patrols to give extra protection at this sensitive time.
‘We have Police Community Support Officers at the scene at the moment and we will be looking to put lasting measures in place over the coming hours and days. We don’t underestimate the impact these events will have on our community of veterans, and I will be personally engaging with them and other community groups throughout this week.’
Earlier in the week, the cenotaph had its poppies removed and was left with Palestinian flags in their place. Later, a video captured a man replacing the Remembrance wreaths and removing the flags.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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