[The Religious Media Agency] On Wednesday 26 March, approximately 2,000 Primary School, TAFE and University students conducted a "Books Not Bombs" protest in Sydney Square, Australia, located between the Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, George Street, in the centre of the city. The protest has now been named "M26" to remind people of March 26.
Prior to the official commencement of M26, a group of agitators arrived early, defying the traffic, crossing the street without clearance and causing offence to passers-by.
A small number entered the nearby St Andrew's Cathedral and, pointing to an eight-star surround to a memorial for the Revd Richard Johnson, the first Chaplain on the First Fleet to Australia, declared "This must be a Jewish Temple."
The Verger, Rick Filmer, explained that actually eight pointed stars are used as symbols in numerous Eastern religions. It was noticed afterwards that the teenagers had entered the main body of the Cathedral, mounted the 150-year-old pulpit and used spray paint on the wall and floor.
"I am disappointed by the lack of care shown by the organisers for the school-age participants of the protest," said Inner Metropolitan Region Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner Dick Adams.
When the gathering commenced their anti-war protest, eggs, pebbles and chairs were used as flying missiles in their attack on the Police. Some of the flying pebbles struck Mr Filmer as he stood in the Northern Doorway of the Cathedral.
Other larger rocks struck nine windows of the former Cathedral office, smashing 49 of the leadlight glass panels. The estimated cost of repairs is $6,000.
The nine windows will have to be replaced completely because of the way in which they were constructed. Professional graffiti removers had to be called to clean the pulpit, which now requires complete refurbishing.
Archbishop Peter Jensen commented, "The Anglican Diocese of Sydney asks church members to pray that tensions in our city may ease."