Police intervene in Melbourne to prevent clashes as rival, anti-racism protesters hold event at same location.
At least 10 people have been arrested in clashes between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups at rallies across Australia on Sunday.
More than 300 supporters of the right-wing group Reclaim Australia and Rally Against Racism were present at the Melton rally on the northwestern outskirts of Melbourne where six of the arrests were made.
As part of the national day of action by Reclaim Australia against the “Islamisation of Australia”, the group protested against construction of a planned mosque in the area and the setting up of an Islamic school at Victoria University campus.
According to witnesses, sporadic fighting broke out between the two groups and punches were thrown among protesters. Police used pepper spray to subdue the crowd before making the arrests.
“Everyone should work together for peace,” Marlene Williams, a Reclaim Australia protester, told The Age.
“But Islam people don’t want to work with us. They just want to take over.”
However, anti-racism protest co-organiser Councillor Stephen Jolly warned that people needed to stand up to the “white terrorism”.
“They are aiming to physically intimidate their political opponents,” he said.