Forest Gate Pride flags vandalised with red paint repeatedly in homophobic hate crime

Three Pride flags painted onto the street in East London were vandalised with red paint over the course of a few days. People found the two large painted rainbow flags outside Forest Gate train station covered in red paint on Sunday, June 23.

Newham Council quickly repainted the flags, but then on Wednesday, June 26, they were covered in red paint again. The council says it will repaint the flags again, according to a local activist.

Metropolitan Police say they are treating the two incidents as homophobic hate crimes. They are also looking into a similar incident in early March and investigating whether it is linked. No one has been arrested yet.

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The incidents coincide with the end of Pride Month, which covers June. The month is intended to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in the UK. The Pride in London march is also due to take place soon - Saturday, June 29.

“Our community is deeply hurt and angered by these hateful actions,” said Reece Jackson, Forest Gate resident and activist. “The Pride flags are a symbol of love, acceptance, and inclusivity. These repeated acts of vandalism are not just attacks on our flags but on the very values they represent.”

Detective Inspector James Rush, from the North East Area’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We recognise that these incidents have caused considerable concern and upset in the local area and among the local LGBTQ+ community, especially as it has happened during Pride Month and only days before London Pride.

“We share that concern and upset and understand how intimidating this sort of offence can be, which is why we remain committed to rooting out hate crime offenders and preventing further incidents.

“I would like to reassure the community that we are taking these offences very seriously and we are carrying out a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice. This type of offending will not be tolerated.

“We are also aware of previous allegations of homophobic criminal damage at the same location, including in early March, and as part of our investigation we will be exploring whether this incident is also linked.”

DI Rush is encouraging anyone with information to come forward. He added: “I would urge anyone who has any information about who is responsible, or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area on Saturday night into Sunday morning, or Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, to get in touch. If you were driving in the area at the time and have dash cam footage, please also contact us.”

Anyone with information can contact police by calling 101 or visiting, quoting reference 2433/23Jun.

Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.