Nicole Girten

(Daily Montanan) U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s downtown Bozeman office was vandalized during the weekend with expletives and red and black spray paint reading, “Tester funds genocide.”

Police were notified of the spray painted messages, and paint crossing out the U.S. Senate seal, on Saturday night, which were sprayed on the exterior of the office along West Main Street.

The vandalism is the latest stunt from agitators who want to see the senator call for a ceasefire in response to the violence in Gaza, something a handful of Democratic candidates in the state have done recently. The largest pro-Palestine organization in the state said it wasn’t responsible for the vandalism, and Tester’s office said the office is still open.

Tester, the chairperson of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, was most recently interrupted by demonstrators at the Democrats’ annual gala, and before that at a town hall in Butte last fall. The Big Sandy farmer is seeking re-election this November in what is projected to be an expensive and tight race against presumptive Republican nominee, businessman Tim Sheehy.

MT 4 Palestine, which organized the demonstration at the Mansfield Metcalf dinner earlier this month, said it was not behind the vandalism and did not endorse it, but organization leader Brendan Work said the organization shares the anger the sprayed message showed.

A spokesperson for Tester said in a statement the Bozeman office is open, and confirmed staff feels safe to be in the office and are continuing to work with the public.

Lt. Hal Richardson of the Bozeman Police Department told the Daily Montanan Monday the department was first called about the vandalism after midnight on Saturday and an investigation, currently for criminal mischief, is ongoing.

State statute outlines someone charged with criminal mischief can be fined up to $1,500 or be imprisoned for six months, or both.

A handful of Montana Democrats have called for a ceasefire recently, including legislative candidate Lance FourStar and all three of the four Democratic eastern Congressional district candidates, who wrote an open letter calling for a ceasefire.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Monday, with the U.S. abstaining from the vote.