Five people have been arrested at anti-racism and anti-Islam rallies
in Sydney, a day after violent clashes at similar protests in Melbourne.
150 members of the Reclaim Australia group gathered in Sydney’s Martin
Place, some wearing ancient Greek army costumes and others with
Australian flags draped across their shoulders.
Two blocks away, a
loud counter-protest group waved banners saying “Stand With
Multiculturalism Against Racism” and “No Racism, no Islamophobia”.
A protestor’s sign during the counter protest against the ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally. Photo / Getty Images
Police kept the groups separated but one man was swooped on
by officers after slipping into the anti-racism protest. Several people
shouted “Nazi” as he was led away.
George Jameson, rallying with
Reclaim Australia in a replica Spartan military outfit, said they
weren’t racists and had come together to stand up for freedom of speech.
“Both my parents are immigrants. They both came from the
former Yugoslav Republic, how can I be a racist? I’m a first-gen
Aussie,” he said.
“I’m [here] for freedom of speech and democracy
and respecting individualism, respecting someone’s dignity and their
But at the other end of the street, protester Linc Saunders said some had different intentions.
A police line force back the counter protest against the “Reclaim Australia” rally in Martin Place. Photo / Getty Images
“There are people amongst them who are involved with the violent far-right groups,” he said.
protests in Melbourne on Saturday were much more heated, with at least
four people arrested and dozens hit with pepper spray by police who
battled to keep the two sides apart.
Police separated anti-Islam and anti-racist protesters at a Reclaim Australia rally in Brisbane.
Other rallies were planned for Canberra, Hobart and Perth.
100 anti-Islam Reclaim Australia protesters were met by about the same
number of people from the Rally Against Racism group in Perth’s
Solidarity Park. The anti-racism group was louder, using megaphones to
chant “Muslims are welcome, racism’s not” and shout obscenities.