Wales

Penygroes swastika: Man arrested after black family targeted

Margaret Ogunbanwo
Image caption Margaret Ogunbanwo found the offensive graffiti on her garage door

A 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a swastika being painted on a black family's garage door.

Margaret Ogunbanwo spotted the racist graffiti when she left the house in Penygroes, Gwynedd, on Saturday.

North Wales Police is treating the incident as a hate crime and released a CCTV image of a man they want to question.

Villagers have cleaned off the image to show support for the family.

Image caption Residents in Penygroes removed the swastika from the garage

Mrs Ogunbanwo, whose family have lived in the village for 13 years, said local support had been "amazing".

As well as neighbours removing the graffiti, local choir members did an outdoor performance to show solidarity with the family.

Image caption Margaret Ogunbanwo has lived with her husband and two children in the village for 13 years

Mrs Ogunbanwo said: "The community has been amazing. Actually we've been overwhelmed. We've had people come to our door, we've had cards, we've had flowers.

"I have no more spaces to put flowers on. It's just been fantastic.

"What has happened is that our locals have then gone on and told other people what's going on and said 'support them', and so it's been great."

Members of various local chapels, who run a pop-up choir in Penygroes, came together to show their support for Mrs Ogunbanwo and her family by performing together outdoors.

Image caption Penygroes's pop-up choir performed in support of the Ogunbanwo family
Image caption Karen Owen said she was proud of the response to the incident by the village

One of those taking part was Karen Owen, who said: "I'm very proud as somebody who's born and bred in the village that everybody has stood up in support of the family.

"There is no level on which this is acceptable or right."

Sian Gwenllian, member of the Senedd who represents the Arfon constituency, said: "Racism is not confined to Minneapolis and the police in the USA.

"It's not confined to the far-right factions that gathered in Parliament Square in London last weekend.

"Unfortunately it is here in our midst in Arfon and we must do all we possibly can to stop it in its tracks."

Speaking to BBC Wales on Saturday, mother-of-two Mrs Ogunbanwo said she believed she and her family were targeted because they are black.

She said her first thought when she saw the swastika was "do I need to be scared?".

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Media captionMargaret Ogunbanwo was going for her morning walk when she saw the swastika on her garage

She initially decided not to erase the graffiti, as she believed it would serve as a reminder of "the importance of Black Lives Matter".

"If we wash it away, it's like it didn't really happen and I want people to remember it," she said at the weekend.

North Wales Police said on Tuesday: "Following an appeal North Wales Police confirm that a 35-year-old male has been arrested in connection with the hate crime in Penygroes. Enquiries are currently ongoing."

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