The Russian flag was removed from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway overnight “without the City’s knowledge,” and the Belarus flag was vandalized, a city spokesperson said.
The Russian flag was replaced Friday afternoon, while the Belarusian flag will be replaced when a new one is delivered.
“We anticipate that will be within the next three weeks,” said city spokesperson Irene Contreras Reyes.
NBC10 first reported on the Russian flag’s removal, noting that a sign above the flag reading “Russia” was also removed. The station added that a crew was spotted overnight with a utility truck and basket under the Russian flag.
In the Russian flag’s place was a Ukrainian flag smaller in size than the other flags that dot the Parkway. The original Ukrainian flag remained at Cherry Street and the Parkway.
According to a 2010 Inquirer report, the flags on the Parkway represent countries that have significant or growing populations in Philadelphia. In 2010, the city added 19 flags to the display, bringing the total to 109. The City Representative’s Office is responsible for determining which flags are displayed.
Russia began its ongoing invasion of Ukraine last week, prompting an outpouring of support for Ukrainians both here and overseas. Last week, about 200 people gathered at City Hall to condemn the invasion and demand more American support for Ukraine. More than 5,200 Ukrainian immigrants call the Philadelphia region home, and there are more than 54,000 people of Ukrainian ancestry in the area.
Belarus, a country on Russia’s western border, is currently aiding Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.