“Criminal damage”: Vandalisation of war memorial in Canberra strongly condemned

Overnight, vandals painted graffiti on the Vietnam War Memorial on Anzac Parade in an apparent protest to highlight the situation in Gaza.

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) has strongly condemned the vandalisation of the Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra.

Overnight, vandals painted graffiti on the Vietnam War Memorial on Anzac Parade in an apparent protest to highlight the situation in Gaza.

The Memorial was found defaced with red spray paint with the message: @The Colony Will Fall,” “Eyes on Rafah” and “This is genocide.”

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Image: Vandalised Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra (Source: Michael Webster – LinkedIn)

RSL National President Greg Melick said the vandalism would be deplored by all fair-minded Australians.

“People are entitled to protest, but the desecration of a memorial to those who served, suffered and died in the Vietnam conflict is to be deplored. The protesters should have chosen another way to get their message across.”

Image: RSL National President Greg Melick (Source: RSL – LinkedIn)

Greg Melick added:

“The brave Australian service personnel who served in Vietnam had nothing to do with the current conflict in Gaza and to use their memorial as a platform to protest is contemptable. On behalf of the RSL and all who have served and continue to serve our nation, we condemn the actions of the protesters.”

Greg Melick said the desecration of the memorial did nothing to enhance the cause of those suffering in the Middle East.

Michael Webster, a well-known lawyer and military legal officer, posted on LinkedIn that he and many others have reported this “criminal damage” to the local authorities.

“At various times, concerned citizens have gone there in shock and left in disgust. It is now late afternoon and the memorial has not been cleaned. The sun must not be allowed to set on the desecrated memorial. This is a matter of honour and respect for our war dead.”

Australian Jewish Association (AJA) posted on X: “Our veterans would be horrified.”

Last year, Defence Minister Richard Marles has decried the desecration of a Melbourne war memorial that too was covered in pro-Palestine graffiti.

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Before remembrance day, the residents of Montrose woke up to see the WWI memorial covered in graffiti.

Image: The Montrose War Memorial 2023 (Source: SkyNews screenshot)

Minister Marles said on Sunday Agenda:

“Defacing a war memorial does nothing to advance the cause of what’s happening in Gaza. It does nothing to advance the cause of the humanitarian situation facing the people in Gaza. What it does do is add enormous distress to people who are seeking to commemorate what is a very sacred moment in our country’s history.”

Image: The Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra (Source: RSL – LinkedIn)

The Canberra war memorial is dedicated to all those Australians who served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973. The memorial was dedicated on the fifth anniversary of the Welcome Home Parade for veterans. Vietnam Veterans’ Remembrance Day is commemorated on 18 August; the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

During this battle, D Company faced a Viet Cong force more than 20 times larger than the 108 Australians. D Company became only the second Army unit in Australian military history to be awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation.

There are more than 300,000 Vietnamese-born people living in Australia who have contributed to Australian society.

Recently, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính of Vietnam has made announcement to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in trade, investment, education, defence and security with Australia.

Image: Vandalised Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra (Source: Michael Webster – LinkedIn)

ACT Police told AAP that they were aware of the vandalism.

“Police remind the community that peaceful protest is part of healthy democracy however criminal acts will not be tolerated.”

Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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