A controversial mural at Bondi Beach has been defaced by vandals.
The ‘Not Welcome to Bondi’ mural, that showed Australian police officers standing guard, was daubed with paint overnight on Wednesday.
The vandalism came after the local council decided against removing the mural – which was painted by artist Luke Cornwall last month.
According to Mr Cornish, the officers in the mural represent the 24 suicides of asylum seekers in Australian detention centres since 2010.
Mr Cornish told Daily Mail Australia he was disappointed that his work had been defaced after he invested so many hours.
However he said was not surprised as it is the nature of street art but he did reiterate that defacing public art is a crime.
Bondi locals were upset the mural had been painted over on Wednesday, taking to Facebook to complain.
‘Whoever did this is a coward. You couldn’t stand the truth so you silence those who under our laws don’t have one. I hope you rot for that,’ one person wrote.
Another said ‘How stupid!’
The mural sparked controversy when it was painted.
Waverley Liberal councillor Leon Goltsman said allowing the mural to be painted was ‘another failure under the Labor/Greens controlled council’.
‘The World Famous Iconic Bondi Sea Wall is supposed to be a celebration of our breach and local culture, and the murals should be appropriate for the broad family and tourist audience,’ he wrote on Facebook.
‘What we have now are politically motivated offensive propaganda likely to offend families and turn away visitors.’
One user backed up Mr Goltsman saying she could not see how the artwork represents the treatment of asylum seekers.
‘To me it represents hatred and gives Bondi a bad name … totally inappropriate!’ she wrote.
‘These are images designed to intimidate and do not belong in a family friendly area,’ another wrote.
One added: ‘To me and everyone I asked, young and old, it screams violence. It causes people to feel fear rather than compassion.’
Mr Cornish hit back at Mr Goltsman saying his comments were just an attempt ‘to score some political points’.
‘I painted his mural and I’m not aligned with Labor or the Greens,’ he said.
The artist had several supporters who defended his mural.
‘Impressed that city of Sydney was that open to put that work there. Thank you for your contribution to this messaging, it’s very important,’ one wrote.
‘Brave stuff, impressive art, an unavoidable statement,’ another wrote.
One added: ‘Some people forget that art isn’t just here for our entertainment. Thanks Luke for churning out thought provoking pieces.’
During the meeting on Tuesday night the council voted down the motion to remove the mural.
However, it was noted that the mural was temporary and it would eventually be replaced once Mr Cornish’s exhibition is finished.
According to the Waverley Council website, The Bondi Beach Sea Wall has been in operation since the late 1970s.
The wall has featured a mix of street and contemporary art with strong social and political messages.
An artist whose mural is accepted by the council can showcase their work on a panel for a six-month period.