Assyrian memorial in Bonnyrigg vandalised

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Kate Aubusson
Monument to the hundreds and thousands of Assyrian who died in World War I in Bonnyrigg before it was vandalised. Photo: Wolter Peeters
A memorial in Sydney’s west to the hundreds of thousands of Assyrians who died in World War I has been trashed by vandals who spray-painted swastikas and offensive slogans on the monument.
The monument, erected by Assyrian leaders in Bonnyrigg, refers to the killing of 750,000 Assyrians by Ottoman troops as “genocide”.

Early Wednesday morning the words “F— Armenians, Assyrians and Jews” were found scrawled on the monument.

Local police were investigating the incident.

The Bonnyrigg Park monument has been vandalised in such a manner four times since it was erected in 2010.

The Turkish government backed local Turkish Muslims’ attempts to block the approval of the memorial by Fairfield Council, according to the Assyrian Universal Alliance.

The Alliance strongly condemned the vandalism and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

But the group also called for calm and asked the community to refrain from passing judgment on a specific cultural group.

“We call upon the authorities to be diligent in identifying the responsible parties,” the Alliance said in a statement.

The vandalism followed a highly publicised statement by Pope Francis in which he described the massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide at a mass to mark the centenary of the killings.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took to Twitter to admonish the Pope’s comments as “baseless” and “far from form the legal and historical reality”.