Arrests as rival groups clash in Cronulla

People regarded as being anti-Islam protesters have been set uponby members ofa large anti-racism crowdnumberingin the hundreds that has gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots.

The anti-racism protesters – including a vocal minoritycalledAntifa (anti-fascism)dressed in black with black face masks – have been abusing police, using megaphones.

Riot squad police have been forced to corral the anti-racism protesters at the southern end of Cronulla beach.

Certain anti-Islam protesters found themselves in the midst of theAntifamembers who proceeded to push and shove them and call them “f—ing fascists”.

One middle-aged woman draped in an Australian flag caught in the crowd was surrounded by 20 to 30Antifamembers who shouted at her to “take that fascist flag off now”.

Anti-fascist activists from the Antifa group confronted anti-Islam protesters in Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla. Photo: James Brickwood

A man in the crowd yelled “burn that flag and burn that woman”.

There were other chants of “police protect the fascist filth” and “Muslims are welcome, fascists are not.”

Police had made two arrests at the protests by 2pm.

A 58-year-old man from Warilla, south of Wollongong, was arrested for offensive behaviour and a25-year-old man from Seaforth was arrested for breaching the peace.

A police spokeswoman could not confirm whether the two men were part of the anti-Islam or anti-racism groups.

A rally at Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots. Photo: James Brickwood

In a volatile and confusing situation, members of the Antifa crowd were being instructed to “mob up”, running from one side of the park to the otherin an apparent effort to confuse police about their intentions.

An Antifa member told Fairfax Media: “I believe we have more to fear from the bosses and the state and the police than from different cultures.

Asked about their confrontational tactics, hesaid”peaceful confrontation is not going to work with these people. We

have tried that in the past. We will not tolerate any fascism in ourcountry.”

Antifa members carried red, black and white flags with the words Antifaschistische Aktion, the name ofa German anti-fascist organisation that reportedly has its roots in the German communist party in 1932, was dissolved in 1933 by the Nazis and resurfaced in the 1980s in Europe.

A rally at Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla, to commemorate the Riots. Photo: James Brickwood

Antifa Australia’s Facebook page has as its most recent post on November 17: “These deranged far-right scum want to damage society and bring everyone down. If the Authorities won’t stop hate speech, the leftist community will now need to implement their own authority via grassroots action.”

Police have provided the anti-racism crowd with free transport at the train station and asked them to leave Cronulla.

At the other end of the beach, acrowd of 120 anti-Islam protesterswere outnumbered by members of NSW Police, theRiot Squad and weekend joggers.

“I’m here to celebrate a free Australia and freedom of speech andto celebrate Australian culture with a halal-free barbecue of a pig ona spit,” said Nick Folkes, chairman of the anti-Islam Party forFreedom.

Folkes had announced plans to hold a rally at Cronulla but wasblocked by a Federal Court order on Friday. Holding the barbecue was”a compromise”, he said, confirming that he would not be addressingthe crowd but that he could talk to the media.

“Everyone in Australiashould have the right of assembly,” said Folkes, who claimed that thetyres on his car had been slashed overnight, “no doubt by the usefulidiots on the left”.

Pic: James Brickwood

The meeting was attended by Danny Nalliahand Rosalie Crestaniof the Rise Up Australia Party, Kim Vugaof the Love Australia orLeave It Party, and independentSergio Redegalli, who become knownfor his “Say No To The Burqa” murals in Newtown.

“I have studied Islam for the five years and I can tell youthat it is impossible to reform,” said Redegalli, who arrived early ina ute on the back of which was a large pig on a spit.

Nalliah addressed the crowd before an Australian flag,leading them in a chant of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”. He then denouncedmulticulturalism, the media, the United Nations (“United Nonsense”) andthe politically correct left.

He also described a trip to Saudi Arabiawhere he witnessed three beheadings.

He said he wanted to tell all Muslims that “If you are dyingin jihad you are not going to get your 72 virgins in heaven but 72 devilswho will torture you in hell.”

Some in the crowd voiced regret for the violence of 10 yearsago.

Others saw it differently. “What we are here for is tocommemorate those riots which came out of Islamic thuggery,” said a 17-year-old Toby, who had travelled from West Ryde. “If today doesend like that though, they’re going to need bullets to stop us.”

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