Anita Anand denounces the “desecration” of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa

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Anita Anand denounces the “desecration” of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa

Flowers laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on January 30, 2022, a day after a person was seen dancing on the falls during the demonstration of the truckers (archives).

Federal government faces new demands to step up security around National War Memorial following new footage of person covering Soldier's Grave unknown with a flag.

Photos and video of the incident streamed live online Sunday night show an individual bowing his head at the grave covered with the flags of the United States and Canada.

The grave contains the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier killed in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War. The monument symbolizes the sacrifices of all Canadians who served overseas in wartime.

Defense Minister Anita Anand (archives)

While we still do not really understand the message that the individual in question hoped to convey , Defense Minister Anita Anand described the gesture as a desecration of the monument. An act she describes as unacceptable and shameful.

The right to protest is something those honored by the Tomb sacrificed their lives for, but the desecration of this memorial is unacceptable and shameful, she wrote in a post on Twitter.

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Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay also condemned the action in a Twitter post, saying he was disappointed to see disrespectful and dishonorable behavior repeated at Soldier's Grave unknown.

This sacred site deserves our utmost respect, honor and [our absolute] integrity, he added.

Neither of the two ministers, however, made any mention of x27;an intention to increase the level of security at this place which has become the center of attraction for protesters against the health measures related to COVID-19 and against the Liberal government.

Minister Lawrence MacAulay (archives)

Repeated requests have been made to the government to better protect the site since the actions taken during of the convoy of truckers last winter. A woman had been seen standing at the grave during the early days of the protest. This woman had been interviewed by Ottawa police, but had not been charged.

Following the gesture, authorities installed fencing around the tomb and monument, but protesters later removed them. Several of them identified themselves as veterans wanting to reclaim the premises.

The memorial was also the scene of a recent protest involving James Topp, a Canadian Armed Forces reservist accused of speaking out against mandatory vaccinations while in uniform. He then led a four-month march between Vancouver and the federal capital.

James Topp gave a speech upon his arrival at the National War Memorial on June 30 (file).

Nujma Bond, spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Legion, says the incident perfectly illustrates why the organization has repeatedly called for increased security at the site which has become the center of attraction for demonstrators antisanitary measures and against the liberal government.

It seems that these gestures happen regularly, she laments.

Youri Cormier, chief executive of the Conference of Defense Associations (CAD) Institute, a defense issues think tank, echoes Ms. Bond's arguments about the site's growing instrumentalization to deliver political messages.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is not a place to chant slogans and engage in civil disobedience, it is a place of prayer, gratitude and introspection, he emphasizes.

People had a thought for fallen soldiers on Canada Day 2018 ( archives).

Displaying an American flag on the Canadian cenotaph is a deeply insulting act for a tourist. This shows a great lack of judgment. We saw a lot of disrespectful gestures made at the cenotaph during the convoy, continued Mr. Cormier.

He added that the kind of incident seen on Sunday would never have been tolerated at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the United States. A place permanently guarded by a serving member at Arlington National Cemetery.

October 2020: The National War Memorial in Ottawa vandalized

Security at the Canadian monument site is the responsibility of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) while the presence of members of the Canadian Armed Forces is only symbolic.

The Department of Defense directed our questions about Sunday's incident to the SPO, which did not respond to our requests for comment on Monday.

Public Services and Procurement Canada says it is analyzing video footage of the incident, but has no intention of launching an investigation. The ministry still says it wants to work closely with law enforcement.

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