Police are investigating after numerous vehicles were hit with paint while people were driving in Vancouver.
Mariane Nielsen had travelled to the Lower Mainland from the Okanagan Valley to take part in a rally on Saturday when the incident occurred.
A group of people got in their vehicles, clad with Canadian flags, and started driving from Langley toward Vancouver. Nielsen and her teenage daughter were in one of the vehicles.
"There was a convoy from there, going into Vancouver for the Stand United Rally on Robson Street,” she says.
As they were driving along Highway 1 just after 10:30 a.m., Nielsen noticed a liquid splash on their vehicle.
“What is that?” she recalls wondering. “One truck... their whole windshield is covered.”
She looked up and noticed people standing on the overpass.
“The one guy was wearing a bright green mask, and that's what caught my eye. And so I just kind of fumbled my phone. I managed to get a picture of them,” says Nielsen.
One of the individuals was holding a device that was ’squirting’ paint on the vehicles; all were wearing masks or sweaters with hoods over their heads, according to Nielsen.
“It was kind of freaky,” she says.
Vancouver police confirm with Glacier Media the incident was reported and is under investigation.
“Suspects have not been identified,” says Sgt. Steve Addison.
Nielsen believes the individuals were targeting the convoy and were counter-protesters.
“I think it’s pretty sick that somebody would do something like that,” she says. “It could have been very dangerous. I am surprised there were no accidents.”
According to its website, Stand United BC itself as ‘people who believe in standing up for our rights and freedoms and we are hard-working Canadians.’
Saturday’s rally on Robson Street was called World Wide Rally For Freedom. Posters for the event were titled ’Stand United. The Media is the Virus Returns.’
“There's paint everywhere,” Nielsen says. "I'm thinking people that weren't even in the convoy were hit too.”
Nielsen saw six vehicles with paint and believes there were likely others as well.
No other paint vandalism reports
Vehicles that were splattered with paint in this incident could fall under ICBC’s damage to a vehicle from vandalism.
In an email to Glacier Media, a spokesperson for ICBC says vandalism is covered under ICBC’s optional comprehensive insurance.
“Coverage is subject to the deductible chosen by the customer,” states the spokesperson.
ICBC has received vandalism claims for a variety of situations, but the spokesperson says the auto insurer has not experienced a noticeable increase in recent weeks.
Vancouver police is not aware of any other reports of vehicles being vandalized with paint.