Police looking into white supremacist stickers found in Kitchener
KITCHENER -- Regional police are looking into white supremacist stickers in Kitchener after a photo of one was shared on social media over the weekend.
Twitter user Samantha Estoesta shared the photo, which appears to be in mid-town Kitchener, noting that someone else had asked her to share it.
The sticker reads, "Smash white guilt" over top of a person destroying the word guilt.
A Swastika can be seen in the illustration, and a white supremacist website is promoted at the bottom.
"No more words; actions NOW," Estoesta's tweet reads in part.
"If you're a politician who votes against actions to address hate, you make Kitchener safer for THEM and NOT ME."
Kitchener resident Matthew Rodrigues was walking in the city when he came across one of the posters.
"[It's] pretty appalling to see," he said.
Rodrigues saw the poster on a hydro pole in downtown Kitchener.
"I would argue white supremacists like this are getting a little too comfortable in Waterloo Region for anyone's liking," he said.
Chris Osborne said one of the posters is steps away from their home.
"I'm surprised it popped up here in the neighbourhood," Osborne said. "We've had a multicultural neighbourhood for a long time."
In the Twitter thread responding to Estoesta’s tweet, the Waterloo Regional Police Service says they are "looking into them," and asks anyone who finds one to call them at 519-570-9777 to report them.
In an email, a police spokesperson told CTV Kitchener that they were first made aware of the posters on Monday.
Two local politicians also took to Twitter to condemn the stickers, saying they aren't welcome in Waterloo Region.
"Hate speech, racism and white supremacy have no place in our community," Regional Chair Karen Redman posted on twitter.
Redman said racism won't be tolerated in the region.
"They're not taking ownership for it," she said. "Things that people do under cover of darkness or secretively usually means they know they're wrong."
Regional Coun. Tom Galloway also spoke out against the stickers on Twitter.
"This and all hate speech must be rooted out," he said.
"Denounce it wherever it rears its ugly head."
The City of Kitchener responded to him, saying that people who see these stickers can call the city and have a by-law case created for them.
A number of other photos were shared to Facebook over the weekend, as well.
Some of the other stickers have slogans like "Break debt slavery" and "Love not hate." In the last photo, a swastika is drawn in the "O" of the word "love," and a Star of David replaces the "A" in "hate."
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) said it's been in contact with WRPS about the investigation into the stickers.
"It doesn't take much effort to recognize the white supremacist views and Jew-hatred that these posters are promoting. It is disturbing to witness in this day and age, knowing the destructive power of hatred, the continuous efforts of certain individuals to spread messages of hatred and divisiveness," said Rabbi Meyer May, Executive Director of FSWC in a news release.
The organization said it wants to see a thorough police investigation and charges related to the stickers.
This is not the first incident of racist propaganda being shared in Waterloo Region in recent days.
Back in June, a number of fliers that condemned interracial marriages were distributed in the region. Police said at the time they were looking into their distribution as a possible hate crime.