A busy Starbucks store in Melbourne’s CBD was reportedly forced to close after it was plastered with anti-Israel images and smeared with an unknown bloodlike substance.
Images and video shared widely online showed the extent of the graffiti, which included stickers stating “This company supports genocide” and calls to boycott Israel.
In a statement, police said they were investigating reports of graffiti at the store on Swanston St on Sunday and called for anyone with information to come forward.
“Officers are making further inquiries after becoming aware of the graffiti on November 19. An investigation into the incident remains ongoing,” they said in the statement.
Companies operating inside Israel or have perceived to support the Jewish state since its invasion of Gaza last month have come under increased attack by Palestine activists.
Free Palestine Printing, which produces pro-Palestine paraphernalia, shared video of the graffiti to its TikTok, with the caption: “We will never drink awful coffee again.”
In a video reposted to their Instagram, the organisation stated that the store would be closed on Sunday and other businesses were also shuttered or closed early.
@freepalestineprinting We will never drink awful coffee again #melbourne #starbucks #🍉 ♬ original sound - kurd🇭🇺فلسطين🇯🇴✅🇯🇴🇯🇴
The organisation also shared video of pro-Palestine stickers being placed on self-service kiosks inside a McDonald’s store, including one of a red cross through the Israeli flag.
Users online reacted with mixed views to the graffiti, with some mirroring criticism of Starbucks while other users instead urged patrons to support their local cafe.
“I reckon this needs boycotting for the sh**ty quality of its coffee — what I don’t get is why it took Jewish-Arab conflicts to buy our own objectively superior coffee,” one said.
Free Palestine Printing is not accused of any wrongdoing and has been contacted for comment. A spokesperson for Starbucks said on Monday its Australia stores were open.