Three days before alt-right provocateuse Lauren Southern was scheduled to speak to the faithful at a secret location in Melbourne as part of an Australia-wide tour, the political activist took to the streets with a microphone to ask people: “Should we kill Lauren Southern?”.
While Ms Southern, 23, immersed herself in the irony that nobody knew who she was, she posted a clip on social media revealing how many said yes, push her under a tram, use a lethal injection or hang her up upside down.
Ms Southern, known for her anti-Islamic, anti-feminist, anti-mass media and anti-multiculturalism views, sparked more controversy on Friday night after more than 100 protesters clashed with riot and mounted police outside the La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre, in Melbourne’s north, where she hosted an “event”.
The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism says Ms Southern, who describes herself on Twitter as a best-selling author and lover of hedgehogs and freedom, is “a notorious racist and Islamophobe”.
“She is known for her involvement in the racist attempts to obstruct NGO search-and-rescue boats trying to help shipwrecked migrants in the Mediterranean,” the group said in a Facebook statement.
At one point outside the event, protesters rushed at a bus filled with attendees, slapping it and chanting “surround the Nazi bus” while being mooned by a man inside it.
Bus carrying ticket holders attempted to reverse away from charging protestors who surrounded the bus pic.twitter.com/ChDCFYDBJu
— Genevieve Alison (@GenevieveAlison) July 20, 2018
Inside, Ms Southern’s speech was interrupted by protesters with banners and chanting “racism off our streets”, according to the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance group.
Meanwhile, Ms Southern took to Twitter during the closed event, thanking the security and describing her audience as “amazing”.
“Brave attendees got in alright and the show is going fantastic! Protesters just screaming at nothing outside.”
In March, Ms Southern was detained by Border Force in Calais, France, and refused entry to the United Kingdom.
The Independent newspaper reported she had supported a seaborne mission to hamper the rescue of refugees, and British authorities decided on an “official ban” from the UK “for racism”.
She tweeted at the time: “They just locked me out and said ‘au revoir’… Officially banned from UK for ‘racism’..”
In the same year she also was banned for handing out leaflets saying “Allah is a Gay God” and “Allah is trans” outside a regional English restaurant. She said at the time it was to highlight the idea that “the rights of Muslims to be homophobic trump the rights of gay people to have their self expression”.
She was detained by the Italian Coast Guard in 2017 for trying to block NGO search-and-rescue boats from assisting migrants in the Mediterranean.
She also rails against gay parades such as Sydney’s Mardi Gras.
If you're born that way it's not an achievement. Stop celebrating things that take no effort, that means you too gays. #HeteroSexualPrideDay
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) June 29, 2016
On Thursday night, Ms Southern appeared in a segment on Nine’s A Current Affair program, where she was was challenged on her extreme views.
The reporter asked: “Lauren, who are you?”
She replied: “I am just a 23-year-old Canadian girl and I am just a voice for a lot of people who cannot speak up for being afraid of being fired from their jobs.They are afraid of being ex-communicated.”
Despite Ms Southern’s tour dates and venues being kept secret, anti-Southern protesters managed to find the location and blocked the Hume Highway in Melbourne’s outer north. Police attempted to subdue them with pepper spray before surrounding the group against a fence.
Victoria Police is reportedly charging Ms Southern more than $67,000 for their presence at the event.
“Their actions put their lives, the lives of the public and the lives of police officers at risk,” Commander Tim Hansen said.
“The safety of the community is our main concern and our officers could have been used more effectively across Melbourne on a Friday night. It is disappointing that we had to use significant resources to mediate between two groups with opposing views.”