07/30/2013 06:59 EDT | Updated 09/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Rainbow flags burned outside Fort McMurray pride event

RCMP in Fort McMurray are investigating after two rainbow flags were burned outside the first gay pride event in the northern Alberta city.

A group of people took the flags from Bailey’s Pub around 11 p.m. Saturday and subsequently set fire to them in the parking lot.

Michael Kenny, vice-president of Fort McMurray LGBTQmunity, the group that sponsored the event, called the actions “saddening.”

“I think it makes a statement when you take a symbol of the LGBTQ community here in Fort McMurray, you steal it and then you burn it outside our venue’s main entrance,” he said.

“I think you do that because you’re making a statement and you’re making a statement that people who identify as LGBTQ aren’t welcome here.”

Video exists of someone taking one flag but there is no recording of the actual burning. However, several people saw it happen.

Kenny believes that the actions are not representative of Fort McMurray, where he said people are largely positive towards LGBT people.

He hopes that what happened can open a broader discussion about gay rights.

“There seems to be a consensus in the community, the broad community, that the act of taking these flags was completely unacceptable and completely inappropriate,” he said.