Attacks on US Consulate and MP’s offices condemned

Rachael Ward and Holly Hales |

The US Consulate building in Melbourne was splashed with paint and windows were smashed.
The US Consulate building in Melbourne was splashed with paint and windows were smashed.

Pro-Palestine supporters who vandalised a United States Consulate building and the offices of several Labor MPs have been warned not to bring the Middle East conflict to the streets of Australia.

Red paint was thrown at the offices after 4am on Friday and Victoria Police are investigating the incidents.

The frontage of the building housing the US Consulate General on St Kilda Road in inner Melbourne was covered in paint and foyer windows were smashed in several places.

Graffiti on the building included the phrases “Free Gaza” and “Glory To The Martyrs”.

Police cordoned off the building as workers removed the graffiti.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan was concerned for the safety of those working in the offices.

“By all means protest and protest peacefully but do not see the conflict in the Middle East bring conflict to our streets,” she told reporters in Ballarat.

“It would not advance any cause in any way to see people going about doing their work feeling unsafe, it also will not change the course of the conflict in the Middle East.”

The office of federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on Main Street at Mordialloc was also smeared in red paint, obscuring signage and several windows.

Activists similarly targeted the offices of federal NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten in Moonee Ponds and Victorian state politician Kat Theophanous in Northcote.

Mr Shorten described action on Friday as “coercive bullying, illegal conduct”.

“People have got a right to feel strongly about the distressing scenes in Gaza and in Israel but there’s a line and you don’t cross it,” Mr Shorten told reporters.

“The idea you are saying you’re protesting for peace by being violent is like burning books for literacy – it’s just rubbish.”

Palestine protest
Protesters have rallied outside a defence conference in Melbourne in support of Palestine. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Pro-Palestine activist groups proclaimed Friday a “national day of action against Labor MPs”.

In Brisbane, police were called to federal MP Graham Perrett’s electorate office in Sunnybank after a dozen people staged a protest.

Dozens of protesters also demonstrated outside a defence conference in Melbourne hosted by the Australian British Chamber of Commerce before marching through the CBD.

Victoria’s Minister for Jobs and Industry Natalie Hutchins was due to speak at the conference on the state’s plans for jobs and skills under the AUKUS defence pact.

Protest organiser Caroline Da Silva, from Disrupt Wars, said the group was “enraged” by the federal government’s response to Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.

“The very least the ALP could do is to stop supporting weapons manufacturers with our tax dollars,” she said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong said the protests were “not acceptable”.

“I share the depth of concern, depth of feeling that Australians have about what is occurring in Gaza,” she said.

“And I have made, on behalf of this country, very strong statements, as has the prime minister.

“We have said to Israel, do not go down this path but we should rightly condemn protests which are violent and which are hateful and aggressive.”

Protesters at the Parliament of Victoria
Pro-Palestine activists have proclaimed Friday a national day of action against Labor MPs. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Protestors will continue their action on Saturday when they will target the offices of federal Labor MP Peter Khalil, in Coburg, and fellow federal MP Ged Kearney, in Melbourne’s north.

As well on Friday, more than 800 public servants in three levels of government signed an open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese calling on Australia to cease all military exports to Israel.

On October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1200 people and taking more than 200 hostages, according to Tel Aviv.

In response, Israel launched air strikes and a ground invasion of the Gaza strip that, according to the local health ministry, has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, injured more than 80,000 and displaced more than 1.7 million.

This week Israel extended its campaign to the southern Gazan city of Rafah where 45 people sheltering at a tent camp were killed in an airstrike, drawing international condemnation.