Canada: Toronto mayor calls to remove rainbow flag protesting Russia’s anti-gay laws from city hall

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The mayor of Toronto has called for a rainbow flag protesting Russia’s anti-gay laws to be removed from city hall, saying it should be replaced with a Canadian flag instead.

According to NY Post, Mayor Rob Ford said on Friday: “I do not agree with putting up the rainbow flag. We should put our Canadian flag up.”

It came as a response after several city halls across Canada raised their own rainbow flags to mark the beginning of the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

On Friday, he responded by hoisting a Canadian flag in his own office.

City spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza said the mayor does not have the authority to take the flag down however, as it was already approved for the next two weeks after a local community center requested it.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly added that flying the rainbow flag is a sign of solidarity.

Later on Friday, two police officers were seen entering the mayor’s office following reports about a “potential threat to the mayor and his family.”

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said police responded to a “service call” and declined to elaborate.

Earlier this week, Mr Ford had said he would never attend the city’s annual gay pride parade and said, “I’m not going to change the way I am.”

Last September, houses in Toronto with gay pride flags flown in front of them were hit with homophobic vandalism this week, including graffiti, having dog excrement thrown at them and having car tyres slashed.