Minor scuffles have broken out at a rally in Melbourne’s CBD where anti-racism supporters easily outnumbered the flag-waving far-right campaigners.
A massive number of riot police and mounted officers ensured the Aussie Pride Flag March, organised by right-wing group True Blue Crew, did not get out of control on Sunday.
About 70 people marched with the far-right group, chanting “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” as they walked through Carlton Gardens with their Australian flags aloft. They also sang the national anthem.
But there were more than 150 people in an opposing gathering of the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, and their collective voices were louder.
“When Muslims are under attack, what do we do?” campaign organiser Simon Burns yelled into a megaphone.
“Stand up! Fight back!” the group shouted in reply.
Chants of “Unite to fight the right!” and “No Nazis!” were also bellowed out by the anti-racism group.
Earlier, police officers searched protesters for weapons using metal detectors and some minor face-to-face clashes erupted at the gardens.
The opposing groups marched separately through the CBD and met together outside Parliament House.
But they were separated by large barricades that had been set up in advance and police kept the groups apart.
Hundreds of riot police patrolled the rally, wearing protective guards on their arms and legs and batons on their hips.
Officers on horseback trotted around and heavily armed Critical Incident Response Teams were also deployed to keep order.
The True Blue Crew is a “pro-Australian” far-right group that campaigns against accepting refugees and wants to stop Islamisation.
Aussie Pride marches were also held in Sydney and Perth on Sunday.