Australian police break up fights at anti-Islam protest

18th Jul 2015
Australian police break up fights at anti-Islam protest

By Jill Fraser

MELBOURNE, (AA): Hundreds of police were deployed in Western Australia on Saturday to break up violent protests near Parliament House in Melbourne after demonstrators from a right wing anti-Islam group faced off against anti-racism groups.

The pre-arranged demonstrations were the first expected by “Reclaim Australia” across Australia this weekend, as it continues to cite the wearing of the burqa, “Islamic extremism” and “fear that sharia law is on the rise” as issues of concern.

Local newspaper The Age reported that the group of around 100 people had only just begun its rally at 11 a.m. (GMT0200) when the counter-demonstrators attempted to breach police lines.

Police on horseback utilised pepper spray and hundreds of uniformed officers in a bid to control the protests.

Mike Holt, head of “Reclaim Australia” affiliate “Restore Australia” told the crowd that the protest was against the “creeping Islamization of Australia”.

“This is a chance to tell people that there can be a different way… this is about keeping Australia, Australian,” The Age reported.

Around 60 supporters of right wing hardline group “United Patriots Front” also joined Saturday’s march.

On Sunday, Reclaim Australia is also planning rallies in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and other regional centres.

[Photo: Muslims perform Eid el-Fitr prayer at a mosque in Melbourne, Australia, on July 17, 2015 as anti Islam protest takes place in the city. Photographer: Recep Şakar/Anadolu Agency]

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