'No place for racism': Mayor fights back over anti-Asian poster blitz

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A north-western Sydney mayor is taking action after racist posters continue to appear in his electorate.

A Sydney mayor is taking action after his electorate was plastered with racist posters calling for an end to 457 visas, a ban on Asian immigration and a crackdown on foreign business owners.

City of Ryde mayor Jerome Laxale on Sunday tore up an anti-Asian poster he found stuck to a bus stop. 

“I was driving along Lane Cove Road, saw one, and ripped it off," Mr Laxale said in a video.

"There is no place for racism in our community. Ryde is proud of our multiculturalism and I will always protect it.

“If you see these signs around, please report them to me or straight to the council and we’ll tear them up and throw them in the bin where they belong.” 

One of the handwritten posters said to have been found in the Sydney suburb of Ryd
One of the handwritten posters said to have been found in the Sydney suburb of Ryde.
Reddit

Handwritten posters have been appearing in Ryde, in Sydney's north-east, for about five years - targeting bus stops, electoral signs and advertisements.

Most recently, similar handwritten signs were displayed around Top Ryde, with one declaring “no more Asians. It’s not the face of Australia… We speak English” and "stop Asians seat hogging on out (sic) transport… Australia is not Asia." 

Another handwritten sign was reportedly stuck to a trolley in the area. It read: “This trolley was stolen by an Asian & dumped here”.

One of the anti-Asian posters said to have been found in the Sydney suburb of Ryde.
One of the anti-Asian posters said to have been found in the Sydney suburb of Ryde, prompting a response from the mayor.
Reddit


Speaking with SBS News, Mr Laxale said journalists notified him about posters reappearing in the area and he decided to tear one of them down himself. 

“These have appeared before and the community has spoken pretty loudly about it,” he said.

SBS Mandarin reported on similar posters in February 2017 after one was found covering the face of a Chinese-Australian real estate agent on billboard ads. 

The property investor, Mr Yancheng Wang, said the posters were stuck to his billboards at a construction site in Ryde. 

"It makes me angry and upset," he said at the time. 

Mr Laxale said instances of anti-Asian vandalism, that he knew of, first started to appear in 2013 when electoral posters for political candidate Jason Yat-sen Li were defaced.

In 2014, smaller posters were also found on an auction sign in the area.

Since then more posters were shared on Reddit in January 2015 (also seen on Lane Cove Rd) and similar ones were again reported during the most recent council and federal government elections.

The posters Mr Laxale highlighted this week look similar to the ones displayed in previous years. However, it's unknown who is responsible.

“There’s one or two bad eggs in our city… we don’t know who it is (but) imagine that it has the possibility of being the same person as the font and contents are pretty similar,” Mr Laxale said. 

While he was unsure why the posters were resurfacing, he said racism wasn’t welcome in Ryde. 

A poster claimed to have been displayed in Ryde in January 2015.
A poster claimed to have been displayed in the Sydney suburb of Ryde in January 2015.
Reddit

“This is not what Ryde is about, we’re incredibly diverse and celebrate multiculturalism at events throughout the year,” he said.

Mr Laxale said council rangers had so far removed nine posters from the area and were working with police to investigate who was behind them.

He has called for anyone with CCTV footage involving the posters to report it to City of Ryde Council here

A Keep NSW Safe petition is also calling on the government to crack down on racism and a change in the state’s race-hate legislation.

 

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