A Harlem gay bar in New York City tweeted Monday that a gay pride flag had been set on fire outside the establishment.
“Evil has struck again! Someone set our new pride flag on Fire!” the club’s account tweeted.
Alibi Lounge took to the social media platform to share the news that their establishment had been the victim of a possible anti-gay crime early Monday morning, The Hill reported.
According to The Associated Press, staff members at the bar discovered the flag had been set on fire after someone on the street told them between 12:20 and 12:45 a.m. Monday.
This is not the first time the pride flag has been torched outside of the gay club. Police were investigating a similar flag burning that occurred at midnight on May 31 of this year, just before the beginning of gay pride month, The Associated Press reported.
Bar owner Alexi Minko told The Associated Press that in addition to the two flag burning incidents, the bar’s staff members were forced to take down the rainbow flags on July 4 after he said people intentionally set off firecrackers near the front door.
“I have to say that what I find odd was the timing of both events,” Minko told The Associated Press. “One was at the beginning of Pride and one was right at the end. One has to wonder if there’s a kind of message they’re trying to send.”
Minko said he was shocked by the July burning and had not expected another occurrence after police released video of the suspects from the first incident back in May. The New York bar owner told The Associated Press that police had regularly surveilled the bar after the first incident, and they had even visited earlier on Saturday night prior to the second flag burning.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which is viewed as a catalyst for LGBTQ+ rights. WorldPride, an international celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, was held in New York City last month.
At the time of the first flag burning, Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the act “repugnant,” The Hill reported.
One user tweeted that the incident was “absolutely ridiculous.”
Another user on Twitter urged police to find the person responsible for the latest incident of flag burning. One person responded on Twitter to a news report about the burning, saying “freedom of speech.”