Australia’s PM slams vandalism of US consulate with pro-Palestine graffiti

Australia’s Anthony Albanese calls on protestors to ‘turn the heat down’ after US consulate has windows smashed.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned an attack on the US consulate in Sydney [Gaye Gerard/Pool via AFP]

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned an incident in which the US consulate in Sydney was attacked with a sledgehammer and defaced with pro-Palestinian graffiti.

Albanese said on Monday that protesters should “turn the heat down” and that such acts were “not the Australian way”.

“The Middle East conflict is a difficult issue. It is complex. It certainly needs some nuance and isn’t a matter of just sloganeering,” Albanese said at a news conference in Canberra.

“Measures such as painting the US Consulate do nothing to advance the cause of those who have committed what is, of course, a crime to damage property.”

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns described the incident as “reprehensible.”

“It’s an indication of a kind of coarsening of the public debate that no one needs in Australia,” Minns said. “This kind of behaviour will be investigated and punished by NSW police.”

Police said that security camera footage showed a hooded figure with his or her face obscured smashing windows at the consulate at about 3am on Monday.

The consulate’s coat of arms was also spray-painted over with two red inverted triangles, which are used by some protesters to symbolise Palestinian resistance.

The consulate was previously vandalised with the words “Free Gaza” in April, while the US consulate in Melbourne was spray-painted in a similar incident last month.

Australia is a close ally of Israel, but has become increasingly critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza in recent months.

In April, Albanese condemned Israel’s explanation for the killing of Australian woman Zomi Frankcom and six other aid workers in an air strike in central Gaza as “not good enough”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies