EDMONTON -- Members of the local Ethiopian-Canadian Community Association are looking for answers after vandals targeted their downtown building on two separate occasions.

“Somebody has actually sprayed the flag on our sign board,” said member Meheret Worku. “That was really shocking for us because as you know our flag represents our country, it’s our freedom, it’s our identity, and more than anything many have paid a big price for the flag.”

That was last month. Then earlier this week vandals returned, this time smashing two front windows and the front door.

Worku says the association purchased the building in 1987, adding that something like this has never happened before. “So (it’s) really with big regrets that I have a hard time saying this is a hate crime but when I look around none of the other buildings were vandalized.”

The association was in the process of planning a reopening since closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no security cameras on the building but Worku says there will be going forward.

"This is our home away from home. This is our Ethiopia. This is where we share information and more than anything if there is any crisis in our families, this is where we come. So we believe this is pretty well attacking us, all the Ethiopian community members."

Police say the incidents happened on the vandalism happened on July 10 and break-and-enter on Aug. 2 or 3. They are investigating and reviewing video footage.

“This is definitely something really serious," Worku said. "It’s huge because how can we feel safe when somebody can come and do this.

“This place is our legacy. This is the place that we leave for our children.”

According to Worku, there are approximately 7,000 Ethiopians living in and around Edmonton.