Three men have been arrested after CCTV was released of a group of vandals climbing onto the WWI Cenotaph in Sydney’s Martin Place and inappropriately posing with the statue.
The video shows the five men, believed to be aged from 18 to their early 20s clambering over the monument, with one shown sitting on the shoulders of the statue.
Police have described the incident as “an act of stupidity” and “extremely disrespectful”.
“Not only have they damaged the Cenotaph, they have climbed on top it, they have been totally and utterly disrespectful,” Acting Commander Paul Dunstan said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also expressed her disappointment, describing the incident as “personally hurtful” while announcing a new training program for war veterans.
“I think it’s really hurtful that a small number of Australians don’t appreciate the sacrifices many Australians made for our freedom,” she said.
“That’s what hurts me the most, that some people don’t understand our history.”
Police began an investigation into the incident after being notified of damage to the bayonet on a statue.
Three men were arrested at Sutherland Police Station about 1.30pm today with inquiries into the incident still ongoing.
Police have asked all those seen in the CCTV video to come forward and assist police with their investigation.
“We have high-quality CCTV of these males committing this offence and we ask those males to come forward,” Acting Commander Dunstan said.
Police are pursuing a range of offences including specific charges that relate to damaging a war memorial.