Two gay bars in Paris were spray painted with swastikas and Celtic crosses in separate events in the last week. The Banana Café was vandalized in broad daylight last Tuesday while Le Cox was hit in the early morning hours on Monday. The attack on the Banana Café was caught on surveillance cameras.
Dimitri Morvan, assistant manager of the Banana Café told Tetu three men donned balaclavas before the attack. Then two stood watch while the third rushed in and painted the building in front of dozens of “shocked” witnesses.
“These people were obviously targeting us,” Morvan said. “It's no coincidence that they came to the Banana.”
Then on Monday, Le Cox was vandalized with three swastikas and Celtic crosses. The Celtic cross is a religious symbol whose imagery was often co-opted by the Nazis during the 1930s and 40s.
“We will fearlessly resist this violence in the symbols that suddenly affects Gay establishments in the Marais,” Le Cox tweeted, thanking the government for its “active solidarity” and quick removal of the “signs of hatred”
The Marais is a fashionable and historically significant area in 4th arrondissement of Paris. It is generally considered the city’s gay district, with 40 percent of LGBTQ+ Parisian businesses located within its boundaries. Formerly the Jewish quarter, it is now filled with galleries, trendy restaurants, hip boutiques and historic shopping arcades, as well as several gay bars. Local district and city officials responded quickly to the news with support and solidarity.
“These messages of hate and homophobia will never have a place in Paris,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, noting she wanted the homophobic “perpetrators to be quickly identified and judged.”
Deputy Mayor Ian Brossat saw the hateful imagery first-hand and tweeted his “solidarity.”
Politician, writer, and activist Jean-Luc Romero declared that “hatred will never have its place in Paris.” Romero made history in 2012 when he became the first French politician to publicly reveal he was living with HIV.
Complaints were made to the police, who are now investigating. There is no word on possible suspects.