COMMUNITY leaders have condemned a gang who painted ‘Free Palestine’ on historic Blackburn landmarks.

In total eight buildings were hit in the early hours of yesterday morning by a group of up to four people, police said.


Among those targeted were the Magistrates Court, the Town Hall and the Grade II-Listed Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

Prominent Asian councillors have expressed their fury and concern over the attacks which left black paint splattered across doors and stone walls.

The culprits had also spelt the word Palestine wrong.

Among the buildings targeted were the Masonic Hall in Richmond Terrace and the Old Cinema and the RBS branch in King William Street.

Farley’s Solicitors in Richmond Terrace and the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hall Street were also attacked.

Coun Mohammed Khan, the council’s deputy leader, said: “I’m really concerned about this.

“This is not the way to send a message and people have to think very carefully about how they act.

“No one will be impressed by this and this should not happen anywhere, especially not on public buildings.”

Coun Hussain Aktar said: “My message is strong and is that youngsters should listen to their community leaders who are working with the authorities.

“We held a peaceful demonstration in Blackburn on Sunday and that’s the way forward.”

The paint was used to black-out the Magistrates Court sign and was spilt over the pavement in front of the building.

A cash point outside the RBS branch was also covered in paint.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “This is really stupid and completely counterproductive.

“It’s the Israelis who are responsible for the disproportionate killing in Gaza.

“What this does is alienate members of the public and cost the borough a lot of money.”

A spokesman for Drive For Justice, a campaign group set up to protest against the situation in Gaza, said: “We strongly condemn the actions of those who daubed graffiti on the walls of Blackburn Town Hall and other locations in the town centre.

“Everyone has the right to protest and express their views but this has to be done within the law.”

Inspector Phil Hutchinson, from Lancashire police, said: “An investigation is underway.

“We understand that this is a topical issue at the moment but this is a crime nonetheless.

“We are appealing for any witnesses and if anybody has any information please call the police on 101.”