Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged Australians to still turn up to Anzac Day commemorations following three counter-terrorism arrests in Melbourne yesterday morning.
Three men, who were allegedly plotting to commit a terrorist attack at a Melbourne ANZAC Day activity, were arrested in the city’s south east at 3.30am.
Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police have since charged one man with conspiracy to commit acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts under section 101.6 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.
The others have been released.
Abbott addressed the media on Saturday saying that Australian police and security agencies are “the best in the world” and that today’s arrests were an example of “the effectiveness and the efficiency” of their work”.
“People should turn up at Anzac Day events in the largest possible numbers and the best thing you can do in the face of those who would do us harm is live your life normally,” he said.
“The best sign of defiance that we can give to those who would do us harm is to go about a normal, peaceful, free and fair Australian life.
“Please don’t be deterred. Turn up in the largest possible numbers to support our country, to support our values and to support our armed forces.”
Abbott said the authorities had been aware of these men and their plan, and that there were no other threats for ANZAC commemoration ceremonies.
“We don’t believe there are any attacks planned. This was the only attack that we were aware of at an advanced stage of planning and it was precisely because this was a potential attack at an advanced stage of planning that the police and security agencies moved as swiftly as they have.”
Premier Daniel Andrews has said the he and his family will be attending the major public events in Melbourne over the Anzac period, confident that the police have done their job to protect the community.
The prime minister said Andrews presence should make others feel just as confident.
“I want to assure people that everything that authorities can do to keep you safe is being done.”
Approximately 4,000 Turkish police and security personnel have been deployed by the Turkish Government for events on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
There are approximately 400 priority ASIO investigations open into people of interest to counter-terrorism authorities.
Of those people, about 100 are fighting with terrorist groups in the Middle East, and 150 are supporting those people through recruiting and fundraising.
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