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Inner-city Woolies vandalised in Aus Day attack

Brisbane Woolworths spray-painted with Australia Day message

Source: Queensland Police

A Woolworths in a ritzy Brisbane suburb has been graffitied and a flare let off, in an apparent attack over the company’s decision to ditch Australia Day merchandise.

Police were called to the Woolworths Metro in Teneriffe, in inner-Brisbane, early on Monday after multiple reports someone had set off a flare inside the supermarket and scrawled pro-Australia Day tags on its exterior.

“5 days 26 Jan Aussie Oi Oi Woolies f— u,” some of the graffiti read.

“Boycott Woolies,” was also scrawled on the shop’s doors.

An apartment block above the supermarket was evacuated after smoke from the flare set off fire alarms, the ABC reported.

“I think, 4.40 this morning the alarm went off and we were all out and about, downstairs, two fire engines, lasted about half an hour,” one resident told the ABC.

“They realised it was Woolworths here on the corner and we were sent back up.”

A Woolworths spokesman confirmed that no customers or employees had been injured.

“We’re grateful to the police and fire brigade who attended,” they said.

“There’s no reason for vandalism and we’ll continue to liaise with Queensland Police.”

Queensland Police released CCTV footage of the incident. It appears to show a balaclava-clad person spray-painting the front of the supermarket before attempting to set fire to the entry.

“Emergency services were called to the Commercial Road business following a fire alarm being activated. Upon arrival, officers located graffiti outside the business and a flare that had been set off,” they said.

“The flare was able to be extinguished a short time later.

“A crime scene was declared at the business, and investigations into the incident are ongoing.”

Police have appealed for any witnesses.

The supermarket had reopened by late morning.

Monday morning’s attack followed the retailer’s decision last week to refuse to sell Australia Day merchandise ahead of the January 26 public holiday.

That, in turn, followed a similar move by Kmart last year, while German-owned supermarket Aldi has also abandoned any Australia Day-themed range.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was swift to condemn Woolworths’ decision last week, urging patriotic Australians to boycott the retail giant.

Dutton said the move was an “outrage” and against the “national spirit”.

“I would advise very strongly to take your business elsewhere and go to IGA or Coles or Aldi,” he said.

“I think until we get common sense out of a company like Woolworths, I don’t think they should be supported by the public.”

The federal government hit back, accusing Dutton of trying to start a culture war.

Cabinet minister Murray Watt said the Liberal leader was out of touch with the concerns of regular Australians dealing with cost-of-living pressures and high food prices.

“His priority is starting another culture war about the kind of thongs and flags that supermarkets sell,” he told ABC News.

On Monday, after the attack in Brisbane, Watt followed up on X, appearing to further accuse Dutton of inflaming tensions.

“Words matter, especially from political leaders,” he wrote.

Just hours before the vandalism, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had urged Dutton to consider retail workers.

“His big statement was to call for a boycott of Woolworths as well as, I assume, Aldi and Kmart – they employ over 200,000 Australians,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“He needs to explain whether that boycott is forever, or whether it’s just until Australia Day and what the impact on those people who work for these companies will be.”

January 26 has become the subject of increasing scrutiny as more Australians oppose that date for Australia Day and respect the feelings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who lost out after the British flag was raised at Sydney Cove in 1788.

In recent years, Invasion or Survival Day rallies have drawn big crowds across all capital cities, though many Australians continue to enjoy festivities away from the protests.

-with AAP

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