by MATT GARRICK and PHILLIPPA BUTT, NT News
VANDALS have slopped black paint on Darwin's new pride rainbow crossing, less than 24 hours after the $12,000 council project was installed.
Council roads staff cleaned the bulk of the mess from the Knuckey and Smith St crossing Thursday morning, with workers telling the NT News it appeared to be from a plastic cup filled with black paint and sparkles.
Team member George Webster said it was just more unnecessary cost to ratepayers.
"Someone's obviously upset. Not everybody's in favour of it, and this is the world we live in," Mr Webster said.
"You don't just go dropping it in the middle of the road unless you're trying to make a statement."
NT Police were reportedly looking at CCTV to try and ascertain who the culprit was
The vandalism comes as the Darwin Pride Festival officially started on Thursday.
The festival will showcase all things "pride" including a march, book clubs, exhibition openings and parties.
In its 32nd year, the festival runs as a promotion of diversity, equality and celebrating the LGBTIQ community.
Festival committee co-chair Jill Pope said she was looking forward to celebrating the festival.
"In the past, there have been quite negative experiences at the pride marches, which is why it's taken 10 years before we held another one," Ms Pope said.
"But we've been planning this one for a long time and we've been doing a lot of community engagement and the people of Darwin have been really wonderful."
Ms Pope said it was a pure coincidence that the festival had happened at the same time as the postal plebiscite into same-sex marriage.
Highlights of the festival will include the Pride March on Saturday, which will walk from Raintree Park, through the Darwin CBD, to finish at Civic Square, where the Diverse City Pride Fair Day will start.
As part of the festival, the crossing at the intersection of Knuckey and Smith streets has been painted with the rainbow flag.