A 25-year-old man was charged with institutional vandalism for allegedly defacing the Israeli flag on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, police said Wednesday.
Antoine Guyton also was charged with criminal mischief and related offenses. Police said Guyton fired a toy gun filled with red paint at the flag Tuesday afternoon.
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. While the officers were talking to witnesses, however, Guyton was seen returning to the location and was arrested, police said.
Mayor Kenney denounced the vandalism in a statement late Tuesday: “Hate and anti-Semitism have no place in the City of Philadelphia. While I understand that emotions are running high and there are many viewpoints stemming from recent violence against Palestinians and other protesters in the Gaza Strip, it doesn’t warrant hateful acts of vandalism.”
The incident followed protests Monday in Center City over the deaths of Palestinians in confrontations with Israeli forces over the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem.