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A Captain Cook statue has been vandalised ahead of Australia Day celebrations, with the 7m high statue sprayed in bright red paint.
The monument in St Kilda in Melbourne‘s southeast was covered in the paint and plastered with protest signs.
One demands: ‘Why should we abolish Australia Day?’
It adds: ‘So-called Australia is built on the genocide of Aboriginal people.’
Police have now launched a hunt for the culprits and are scouring local CCTV footage to track down those responsible.
The Captain Cook monument in St Kilda, Melbourne ‘s southeast, was splattered with red paint (pictured)
Posters protesting against Australia Day have also been stuck to the plinth of the statue and also splattered with the paint (pictured)
The vandals appear to have sprayed paint over the whole the statue, standing around 5m high, covering it from head to toe, before its plinth too was also covered in paint.
Many of the protest signs have also been covered in the paint by the attack.
Port Phillip Mayor Marcus Pearl condemned the attack, and added: ‘It’s disappointing people have chosen to do this.
‘We had a beautiful ceremony a few hundred metres away from here this morning.
‘People are well within their rights to show their views but we would have hoped they’d done in a better way this morning.’
The attack sparked a furious reaction on social media.
‘Ratbag activists throwing red paint over a statue of Captain Cook in St Kilda,’ posted one.
‘If and when these ratbags of society are caught they should be on parade on the back of a truck painted in RED.’
Another added: ‘The usual morons strike again and throw red paint at the St Kilda Beach Captain Cook statue *slow clap*’
‘This BS has to stop. People need to go back and learn their history instead of being f***wits.’
The vandals appear to have masked the nameplate on the plinth to protect it when spraying the paint (pictured)
Council clean up workers on a tall step ladder had removed most of the paint before 9am using high-power pressure washers.
The statue was built to commemorate Captain James Cook, a British explorer who made the first recorded European contact with Australia’s east coast on April 29, 1770.
Arthur Philips and the first fleet arrived in Australia on January 26, 1788.
The date later became known, and celebrated as Australia Day.
For many Aboriginal Australians, European arrival in Australia represented the loss of Indigenous culture – and was informally named ‘Invasion Day’.
The vandals appear to have sprayed paint over the whole the statue, standing around 5m high, covering it from head to toe, before its plinth too was also covered in paint (pictured)
Members of the Aboriginal community loudly campaigned for the date of Australia Day to be moved, with the first protest held in Sydney in 1988.
‘Invasion Day’ groups continue their protest this year, with rallies planned in cities across Australia today.
Protesters will gather at Canberra’s Aboriginal Tent Embassy – which marks 50 years of advocacy – before an expected march to Parliament House.
While the date of Australia Day remains contentious, a new Roy Morgan poll shows 65 per cent of Australians say January 26 should be considered ‘Australia Day’ – up six points on a year ago – with 35 per cent saying “Invasion Day” is more appropriate.
The paint has been sprayed from head to toe of the 5m high statue (pictured)
However, the figures are reversed when it comes to Australians under 25, with 64 per cent in favour of ‘Invasion Day’.
‘Supporters of the date being known as ‘Australia Day’ say the date is a positive and inclusive day … and reject the notion that there was anything resembling an invasion begun on that day,’ Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said.
‘For those who say that January 26 should be known as ‘Invasion Day’ they say the date marks the beginning of the invasion of Australia and the oppression, dispossession, abuse and genocide of the Indigenous people of this continent.’
Source: Daily Mail