Scott Morrison condemns ‘ugly racial protests’ after three arrested at St Kilda Beach

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Updated

January 06, 2019 10:42:35

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked police for their efforts dealing with “ugly racial protests” on St Kilda Beach yesterday, after some demonstrators were seen making Nazi salutes.

Key points:

  • Police describe the afternoon as “challenging”, with hundreds of officers keeping the peace
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls Australia the “most successful migrant country”
  • MPs criticise senator Fraser Anning for attending the rally

Police arrested three people after spending hours keeping participants of a far-right rally apart from counter-protesters on the Melbourne beach.

A huge police operation, involving officers in riot gear and the mounted, canine and aerial branches, maintained order on the beach, despite a number of scuffles breaking out.

“I thank [Victoria Police] for their efforts dealing with the ugly racial protests we saw in St Kilda yesterday. Intolerance does not make Australia stronger,” Mr Morrison tweeted this morning.

“Australia is the most successful migrant country in the world.

“This has been achieved by showing respect for each other, our laws and values and maintaining sensible immigration policies.

“Let’s keep it that way, it makes Australia stronger.”

Victoria Police Superintendent Tony Silva said the afternoon was challenging for officers, but he considered it a “very successful day”.

“I certainly felt that we had it under control,” he said.

“To my knowledge there was no injuries, both to any of the public and also the police.”

The Prime Minister stopped short of condemning controversial independent Queensland senator Fraser Anning, who has attracted criticism from a number of colleagues in Canberra for attending the rally.

Senator Anning, who called for a return to a “European Christian” immigration system during his first speech to Parliament, was thanked for being there by rally organiser Neil Erikson.

Mr Erikson was found guilty of inciting serious contempt of Muslims in 2017, after staging a mock beheading to protest against the building of a mosque in Bendigo in central Victoria.

Independent senator Derryn Hinch and the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young criticised Mr Anning on Twitter, while Federal Labor MP Tim Watts wrote that the far-right protesters “hate the diverse, inclusive country that Australia has become” and that their objective was “to intimidate minorities”.

“We need to be clear about the contempt and revulsion that we feel, as a community and a nation, towards these people,” Mr Watts posted on Facebook.

“None of us should be silent in the face of this threat.”

Newly elected MP Kerryn Phelps praised demonstrators who showed up to oppose the rally, saying the country’s political leaders needed to be more pro-active in speaking out against a rise in anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi behaviour.

“I think we should call out this rally for what it is. It is a demonstration by a neo-Nazi group where you’re seeing ‘heil’ salutes,” she said.

“We know there’s a rise of Nazism in countries, particularly in Europe.

“I think we should be very concerned about this in Australia. We need leadership to call it out for what it is — right-wing extremism.”

Federal Minister for Immigration David Coleman also tweeted to condemn the rally “in the strongest terms”.

“There is no place for racism in our nation. We are the most successful multi-cultural society in the world, and we have achieved that by working together to build a stronger Australia,” he tweeted on Sunday morning.

Topics:

race-relations,

crime,

youth,

police,

law-crime-and-justice,

government-and-politics,

st-kilda-3182,

melbourne-3000

First posted

January 06, 2019 09:46:41





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