The desecration of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance at the hands of protesters on Wednesday was an “act of disrespect” against the nation’s fallen diggers who “paid the ultimate sacrifice”, says the Shrine’s chair Captain Stephen Bowater.

Approximately 400 people converged on Melbourne’s war memorial yesterday afternoon in breach of the state’s public health orders with demonstrators allegedly seen urinating on the Shrine.

“A Shrine of Remembrance dedicated to all those in world wars, and to be part of this very well-respected and almost apolitical organisation was amazing and I knew that this would be a silent, reflective, role where we keep a low profile and just steer the Shrine onwards,” Captain Bowater told Sky News Australia.

“And to see it like this was just really disgusting: this is why the trustees and I and the CEO have decided to come out and voice an opinion about how bad, how disrespectful this is but especially for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Captain Bowater also took time to thank those who took time out to help with the Shrine’s clean-up.

“Overnight, veterans and active servicemen and women and members of the public just came quietly to the Shrine and cleaned it up before the cleaners got there this morning which I think is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

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