News State Victoria Pepper spray and arrests as anti-racists and far right turn out in Melbourne

Pepper spray and arrests as anti-racists and far right turn out in Melbourne

A flyer invites supporters to confront the far-right rally.
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A knife and knuckle duster have been found among demonstrators after left and right-wing groups clashed in Melbourne.

One demonstrator has been arrested for carrying a weapon and one detained for breach of peace with police disappointed about the amount of face coverings at Sunday’s protest.

The rally attracted hundreds of protesters from the right-wing groups including the True Blue Crew as well as anti-racism activists.

Five people were also treated by Ambulance Victoria after being pepper-sprayed by police for breaking through a police cordon.

Victoria Police north west metro commander Russell Barrett said they were disappointed with people who chose to wear face coverings.

“We were disappointed that a number of protesters chose to wear facial coverings and question why they felt the need to hide their faces if they weren’t planning to cause trouble,” he said.

The commander said despite the “confrontational behaviour” of some protesters, they were pleased that no members of public or police were injured.

Self-proclaimed “patriots” march through Melbourne yesterday behind a wall of Australian flags.

An anti-racism protester said he was disgusted with the right wing group and called them “facists”.

“They have always initiated the violence, they are the ones who have carried weapons,” he said.

Controversial leader of the United Patriots Front, Blair Cottrell spoke at the rally and led the march to parliament.

A right wing demonstrator defended the march, saying they had the “right to free speech”.

The march, called the “Australian Pride March” was organised to combat “anti-Australian agenda to destroy Australia Day, Anzac Day and any remaining Australian pride gaining momentum”, according to the Facebook page.


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