Police were put on high alert as far-right groups gathered in Cronulla today for a “halal-free” barbecue on the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots, despite the rallies being “complete fizzers”.
Member for Cronulla, Mark Speakman, said today’s “rallies” were organised by “vocal outsiders” and “poorly attended” with the majority of locals staying away from the scheduled anniversary.
“Cronulla has moved on from 10 years ago. Sadly there’ll probably always be pockets of hatred and bigotry on the far right and the far left. Cronulla, however, is predominantly a tolerant and cohesive community, which I’m proud to represent,” he said.
The turnout included supporters from the Rise Up Australia Party, Love Australia or Leave It Party and Reclaim Australia who chanted “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!”, many of whom were donning patriotic shirts and waving the Australian flag behind them.
Members from the Party for Freedom had originally planned to hold a rally but resorted to hosting a barbecue as a “compromise” after their plans were blocked by the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
“I’m here to celebrate a free Australia and freedom of speech and to celebrate Australian culture with a halal free barbecue of a pig on a spit,” chairman of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom, Nick Folkes, told Fairfax.
Meanwhile, close to 150 anti-racism activists had also congregated near the barbecue and were heard chanting: “Muslims are welcome, racists are not”. Two members from the group were eventually arrested and taken into custody after one had allegedly sworn at a police officer.
Earlier this November, anti-Islam protestors from groups such as United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia, took to the streets of Melton, Melbourne to protest against the building of a mosque and potential Islamic school.
Here’s a look at how the day unfolded.
The 10th anniversary of the 2005 Cronulla riots drew over a hundred right-wing activists and anti-racism protestors today.
Many of the attendees were made up of anti-Islam activists who had gathered in the seaside suburb of Cronulla for a halal-free barbecue of a pig on a spit.
Many could be also be seen flying the Australian and Southern Cross flag as well as anti-Sharia law placards.
“When you do speak up today, and you’re a patriot and you love your country, the political establishment and those useful idiots on the left think there’s something wrong,” said Party for Freedom chairman Nicholas Folkes.
Court action brought by the NSW Supreme Court prevented a major rally from going ahead.
Just 500m away from the barbecue, around 150 anti-racism protestors could be seen congregating and chanting: “Muslims are welcome, racists are not” and “always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.”
There was heavy policing from the the NSW Police and Riot Squad. Two anti-racism activists were taken away in a police van with one of them arrested for swearing at officers.
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