Woman caught on camera setting fire to Pride flag in ‘blatant act of hate’

A woman sets fire to a Pride flag in New York

A video has emerged showing a woman in New York setting fire to a Pride flag outside a restaurant. The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

In the disturbing footage, caught on CCTV, the woman can be seen stepping out of a white van before using a cigarette lighter to set fire to the flag hanging outside the Little Prince restaurant, in the Soho neighbourhood of the city.

She then gets back in the vehicle and speeds away.

The flames can be seen spreading towards an apartment building above the restaurant. But, as CBS reports, no one was injured.

‘Beyond belief someone would do that’

Residents of the building said they smelled smoke and heard the arrival of firefighters and police. Witnesses told of their shock of the apparent hate crime.

“It’s absolutely beyond belief someone would do that,” Andrew Corn said.

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“I hope they find this woman and arrest her. It seems she should be tried for arson and hate crimes,” another added.

The attack took place while the restaurant was closed, but an employee was still inside cleaning up the premises and the video shows him coming outside to see the flag ablaze.

Employee Stu Matz told CBS: “It’s always been a nice, comforting thing to everyone in this neighbourhood because it means it’s diverse and open, and the fact that someone would burn that down is horrific.”

Erik Bottcher, a Democratic New York city council member for district three, brought a new flag to the restaurant and, in an Instagram post, branded the woman a bigot.

“This flag is five times bigger than the original flag,” he said in the video. “To the person who did this, their plan has backfired and it has backfired badly.”

He fitted the new Pride flag himself while onlookers cheered their support.

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