Images of fallen Border Patrol officers were defaced Saturday when protesters rampaged through the National Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas.
Museum director David Ham said about 50 protesters took over the museum, which is operated by a not-for-profit group and has no political or governmental affiliation, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Today a group of protesters invaded the Border Patrol Museum and defaced all of our exhibits including our sacred Memorial Room,” Ham said in a post on his Facebook page. “Efforts to prosecute them will be pursued once damage is assessed.
“This angers me greatly.”
Yesterday a group of around 50 masked activists stormed the (privately owned) US Border Patrol Museum in El Paso & defaced items inside, including a memorial to fallen officers. I’m reminded of how Islamic State destroyed museums in their occupation. https://t.co/3xRKOKyQYg
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) February 18, 2019
Ham told Fox News what took place.
“They immediately spread out throughout the museum, and displayed banners and began chanting and singing,” he said.
“While this was going on, other people in masks went through the museum placing stickers on most of our exhibits. These people were wearing masks, and their actions were concealed by others holding small signs to cover their actions,” Ham said.
“Our memorial room displays the pictures of 127 agents who have died in the line of duty,” he said. “It is considered a sacred room by Border Patrol agents, their families, and the families of the fallen agents.
“This group desecrated this room by placing 20 stickers throughout this room, including six on the wall with the pictures of the fallen agents. The problem is the stickers have heavy-duty adhesive, and are extremely hard to remove without damaging the wall.”
Yesterday, masked protestors “occupied & reclaimed” (whatever that means) the #BorderPatrol museum (non-profit entity run by volunteers) & defaced our fallen agent memorial (a very sacred monument).
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the hypocrisy of their actions…? pic.twitter.com/VUmMmwAIqO
— Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent (@JOwensUSBP) February 17, 2019
On Monday, Ham spoke to KFOX-TV in El Paso about the damage that was done.
“We have a memorial service out here every year at the end of May and this last May we had about 30 family members that came here and visited that room,” he said. “And they reminisce about the fallen hero.
“For them to deface it like that, it’s just beyond the pale to me. You just don’t do that.”
The group, which calls itself Tornillo: The Occupation, livestreamed the protest.
Today the memory of all those who were lost to the violence that is Border Patrol were honored by activists inside the border patrol museum. Those that died in custody, those that died of thirst while crossing. We remember, we won’t forget, we won’t be silent.#RevoLove pic.twitter.com/4rEDBByP8N
— Sacred Mischief (@MischiefSacred) February 17, 2019
“It was an act of civil disobedience done because we believe there is a humanitarian crisis and human rights violations being perpetuated by a corrupt and broken immigration system,” organizer Elizabeth Vega said, according to KVIA-TV in El Paso.
Vega would not characterize the actions of the group as vandalism but said the group did put stickers over exhibits showing images of two children who crossed the border illegally and died in the custody of the Border Patrol.
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