NSW Police charge man who painted over George Michael mural in Sydney’s inner west

A man filmed painting over a George Michael mural in Sydney’s inner-west yesterday has been issued with a court attendance notice.

Key points:

• It is the second time in as many days the mural has been targeted

• In the video, the man says: “I’m defending my religion”

• The incident comes in the wake of the SSM postal survey announcement

The artwork, on the side of a terrace in Erskinville, was painted just weeks after the singer’s death on Christmas Day last year.

Several outraged onlookers filmed the man, who can be heard labelling the mural “sacrilegious” and saying: “I’m defending my religion.”

A police officer is later seen arriving before leading the man away.

New South Wales police confirmed they issued a 23-year-old man with a court attendance notice over a charge of graffiti.

He is expected to face the Downing Centre Local Court on December 7.

The incident comes in the wake of Wednesday’s announcement of the same-sex marriage postal survey results.

Mural attacks escalate

The same mural was targeted by another man on Friday. He was pictured spraying the artwork with paint while wearing an Azztek Stone shirt.

Azztek Stone, a stone masonry company, later posted on Facebook condemning the vandalism and saying the employee had been stood down.

“The company is willing to compensate for the damage that has been done and return the art work to its original condition,” the statement said.

“We apologise for any offence or harm the irresponsible actions of our employee may have caused.”

The vandalism follows a similar incident last week involving a mural of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell in nearby Newtown.

Both murals were painted by Sydney artist Scott Marsh.

‘We’re not going to put up with it’

A group of residents set up camp beside the George Michael mural last night, encouraging passers-by to leave messages of support for the LGBTIQ community.

Angie and her husband were among those who stopped to leave a message.

“This is just disgusting,” she said.

“I think many people are just devastated at what somebody would choose to do.”

Trent Maher lives around the corner from the mural and said he was also surprised by the vandalism.

“This is a very tolerant community and a very inclusive community,” he said.

“It’s a very divisive act but we’re not going to put up with it.

“We’re going to stay strong and we’re going to make it better and we’re going to make it something about love rather than something about hate.”

Mr Maher is calling for the mural to be restored to its original state, saying it is an important symbol for members of the gay community.

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