Australia

‘Lennon wall’ vandalism spreads to University of Sydney

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The University of Sydney has criticised protesters who were caught on camera tearing down a colourful installation erected by pro-Hong Kong students.

The University of Sydney has criticised protesters who tore down a ‘Lennon wall’ erected by pro-Hong Kong students.

The colourful installation, which was littered with democratic messages critical of China and totalitarianism, had been inspired by similar murals across Hong Kong and around the world.

Protesters tear down a pro-Hong Kong 'Lennon wall' at the University of Sydney.
Protesters tear down a pro-Hong Kong 'Lennon wall' at the University of Sydney.
Honi Soit

It’s believed the installation was torn down on Tuesday, with vision showing a small group swiftly removing the political statement.

A University spokesperson has condemned the action, maintaining the institution strongly supports ‘the right of students to protest and express opinions and political views’.

"The safety of all our students is a top priority and we will continue to monitor the situation," the spokesperson said.

The incident is just the latest in a string of deeply political clashes on university campuses and follows a similar attack on a Lennon wall at the University of Queensland.

Masked activists were caught on camera destroying pro-Hong Kong material on Monday night, with increased security patrols now deployed to squash any repeat offending.

Masked protesters vandalise a 'Lennon wall' at the University of Queensland.
Masked protesters vandalise a 'Lennon wall' at the University of Queensland.
Twitter/DrewPavlou

Queensland Police was notified of the incident but it’s understood no formal investigation is currently underway.

The University of Queensland has told SBS News any legal action is now a matter for the Student Union given the wall was not on university property.

"The University does not condone any actions that prevent free speech, including the targeting of the Lennon Wall in the Student Union complex," a spokeswoman said.

"Our security staff had been conducting regular patrols of the area, and they will be stepped up following this incident."

A University of Tasmania staff member was also forced to take action when a student reportedly tried to remove pro-Hong Kong posters earlier this week.

A protester is arrested by riot police officers during demonstrations in Hong Kong.
A protester is arrested by riot police officers during demonstrations in Hong Kong.
LightRocket

The tensions on campus coincided with the federal government's upgrade of warnings for Australians planning to travel to Hong Kong.

Official advice has been raised as pro-democracy protests continue to create havoc in the streets of the Asian territory.

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