Graffiti is seen on an RCMP statue outside of Manitoba RCMP headquarters in Winnipeg on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Winnipeg police are investigating three incidents of graffiti that targeted the headquarters of the Manitoba RCMP, the Canadian Museum For Human Rights and a politician’s office. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Police in Winnipeg are investigating graffiti at the headquarters of the Manitoba RCMP, the Canadian Museum For Human Rights and a politician’s office.

The buildings, as well as a monument outside the RCMP office, were spray-painted with slogans that appear to be linked to protests against a planned natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en First Nation land in B.C.

One phrase read “Land back” and another said “Shut Down KKKanada.”

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Others were written outside the constituency office of federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal — the same office that was occupied by protesters for more than a week earlier this month.

Police said in a written statement that they are investigating the three instances of graffiti as being linked, but not as a hate crime.

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism and said the provincial government is eyeing a proposed law in Alberta that would stiffen penalties for protesters who shut down critical economic infrastructure, including railways.

“Certainly when it comes to vandalism like this, again, it’s just so unfortunate that people will stoop to these types of endeavours,” Cullen said Wednesday.

“We will stand beside the police. We know they’re facing challenges. They have a difficult job to do, but certainly they use their expertise in making the decisions they do.”

A bill mentioned in Alberta’s throne speech Tuesday proposes penalties for individuals be up to $10,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for each subsequent day a blockade or protest remained in place.

Cullen said he has asked his officials to review the bill, given the impact the protests are having across Canada.

“We know there is implications to individuals, implications to the economy, and certainly Alberta recognized that,” Cullen said.

“We will obviously review their legislation and see what steps we may or may not take into the future.”

An anti-pipeline demonstration shut down Winnipeg’s busiest downtown intersection — Portage Avenue and Main Street — during Wednesday’s afternoon rush hour. A few hundred protesters held a round dance across the historic junction and waved flags and placards.

Police diverted traffic at least a block away in each direction.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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