However, those just blaming "thiests" also don't have much ground.
You had a place allowing for the public to put up HOLIDAY celebration displays on public property and had been doing so for many years. You had a group rallying others of like mind to purposefully attempt to hinder and disrupt said celebration by gaining spots and placing up things that not only had nothing to do with a holiday celebration, but were meant to be outright hostile and/or antagonistic to the various religious AND NON RELIGIOUS celebrations occuring there. Not shockingly, this dick moved inspired others to do escalating dickish things such as vandalizing them. While that doesn't excuse the vandals actions, it does play a part in it. They turned the situation into an antagonistic one in the first place, and then the other side raised the stakes, and ultimately the whole thing got shut down because two sides of adults decided they wanted to act like ****ing children.
The space and property and program had been used for years for the purpose of putting up holiday decorations for the public to enjoy on public land.
Athiest groups attempted to gain multiple plots used for these decorations and proceeded to put up a number of decorations pertaining in no way to any winter holiday and often times specifically antagonistic to those celebrating those holidays
Some of those displays were than vandalized by people
The city government ordered the removal of all the displays
It was a dick move to purposefully attempt to turn an area of holiday celebration into an antagonistic battle front of church vs state and faith vs reason
It was a dick, and illegla, move to vandalize those decorations
It was a sad but understandable action by the government to end the whole thing because two sides acted like bloody 3 year olds and the city government had to act like the parent taking the toy away from the kids.
Athiests did nothing to the nativity display...they did do something however to the general holiday celebration, specifically they attempted to turn it into an ideological battle ground rather than an area of holiday celebration.