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New York, Chicago latest US cities hit by swastikas

The spike in racist graffiti and incidents continues across the United States, according to new reports. Rights advocates say hate groups may feel energized by the new US president, Donald Trump.

Newspapers and social media users reported fresh swastikas and other racist graffiti across the United States. In New York on Saturday, transit riders teamed up to cleanse a subway car of the Nazi symbol.

"The train was silent as everyone stared at each other, uncomfortable and unsure what to do," a Facebook user named Gregory Locke wrote. "One guy got up and said, 'Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol.' He found some tissues and got to work."

That follows an attack on a synagogue in Chicago, where a window was smashed and swastika stickers were affixed to the front door. Police released video footage on Saturday.

In January, someone carved a swastika and the word "TRUMP," an apparent reference to the US president, into the wall of the Eagle Rock Brewery Public House in Los Angeles. "Although the defacing of our restaurant property isn't anything new, the current political climate makes us all hypersensitive to the meaning behind the messages that people leave on walls," Eagle Rock owner Ting Su told foodie site Eater. "It's ridiculous that people need to deface someone else's property at all, but to try to promote fear and violence by carving a swastika takes it to a much more malicious level than the common tagger."

Groups that monitor hate incidents said the new US president, Donald Trump, has energized racists after his campaign frequently played to biases. His inner circle includes people who've been criticized for a history of statements that show disdain for historically marginalized populations. An increase in hate crimes has been documented by groups as diverse as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors bias groups and incidents, and the New York Police Department, which has frequently been accused of impropriety in its encounters with the city's minority populations.   

mkg/sms (Daily News, Chicago Tribune)

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