Swastikas will stay in park for ‘historical significance,’ Canadian town says

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The mayor of a Canadian town refused to remove an anchor with a swastika painted on it in a park, saying it contains local "historical significance" and should remain in the public space.

The anchor, said to be a "souvenir of Nazism," was placed in a park in Pointe-des-Cascades, about 30 miles west of Montreal, according to the BBC. The town said the anchor was uncovered about 25 years ago from a merchant vessel before World War II.

Corey Fleischer, founder of Erasing Hate, went to the park last Thursday to paint over the Swastika, but was stopped by Mayor Gilles Santerre.

"Maybe the city did not know," Fleischer told the BBC. "But I know exactly what this is. There is no ifs ands or buts about it."

But Santerre released a statement on the town's website on Tuesday saying the Pointe-des-Cascades did not "endorse Nazism."

"Our village has a beautiful community and family spirit, and creates events that bring people together," Santerre said, adding officials will move the explanation plaque closer to the anchor.

Fleischer said the piece of history did not belong in a public park, but a museum.

"[A museum] is a place where people come to feel safe and this is being displayed for everybody to see," Fleischer said.