More than 20 swastikas have been spray-painted on a mural and a shopping center near the iconic Bondi Beach in the Australian city of Sydney, with local officials and Jewish groups condemning the incident as an “expression of blatant racism.”
The Nazi symbol was daubed in gold paint in the early morning hours of Sunday, Australian media reported.
Police in the state of New South Wales (NSW) said in a statement that “officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command attended and found a section of the mural wall had been defaced with approximately 20 symbols.”
A short time later three more were located at a shopping center at Bondi Junction.
Vic Alhadeff, head of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, released a statement condemning the graffiti.
“The swastika represents the ultimate in race hatred and the people of Bondi and indeed all Australians of goodwill will stand together in condemning this shocking display. The Jewish community is appalled at this expression of blatant racism,” he said.
Bondi: Vandals have gone on a rampage overnight spray painting Nazi swastikas along the beach promenade. The offensive symbols were mostly sprayed on murals below the carpark in what some locals say is a hate crime aimed at the area's Jewish population. #Bondi #7News pic.twitter.com/8yoUtWvfL2
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) February 10, 2019
John Wakefield, the mayor of the local suburb of Waverly, called the incident a “disgraceful act.”
“We understand the extreme distress, anguish, fear and disgust that the swastika can elicit, especially within Australia’s multicultural community and amongst all fair-minded people,” he said in a statement.
“Racism has no place in our culturally diverse community and we condemn last night’s incident in the strongest terms,” he added. “This is a disgraceful act and Waverley Council and the community of Waverley stand united against anti-Semitism and racially motivated crime.”
Parliament Member Kerryn Phelps also released a statement saying there was “no place for anti-Semitism in Australia.”
The #Wentworth community is united in outrage by the news that thirty swastikas were graffitied on the murals around Bondi Beach overnight. There is no place for anti-Semitism in Australia. pic.twitter.com/mppnEqqEFG
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) February 9, 2019
Police have called on the public to come forward with information on the incident and are reviewing footage from security cameras to identify the perpetrators.