A 26-year-old man is in custody after police say he was caught spraying red paint on the Israeli flag that flies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 6ABC reports.
Police said they were called to the location of the flag, near Arch and 16th Streets, about 4:05 p.m., but when officers arrived, Guyton had already fled the scene. Frank took photos and called the police. As Philadelphia police arrested the man Action News asked him, "Did you put paint on the flag?" According to state law, the crime will likely be categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor because the act did not damage property in excess of $5,000, the level at which the charge becomes a felony.
"I'm very upset to learn of the desecration of the Israeli flag that hangs along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Hate and anti-Semitism have no place in the City of Philadelphia", said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement.
The protests in Gaza were driven by anger over the controversial relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as well as calling for their right to return on the day of the Nakba.
Kenney said "emotions are running high" after Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinian civilians protesting on the Gaza border on Monday. "Fortunately, due to the swift work of the Philadelphia Police Department as well as concerned residents, a suspect was placed into custody shortly after this incident occurred". There is no timeline for how long it will take to replace the defaced Israeli flag. A Holocaust memorial is now under construction near Israel's place among the hundreds of countries represented along the Parkway.