Protesters: ‘Yes Australia. No Sharia’

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 04 April 2015 | 20.01

Tempers flare between Reclaim Australia and anti-racism protesters at competing rallies at Federation Square.

Torrential rain hasn't stopped protesters in Sydney. Source: Getty Images

VIOLENCE erupted at protests across Australia as anti-Islamisation and anti-racism groups clashed at rival rallies.

Around the country Reclaim Australia protesters held rallies to oppose "sharia law, halal tax and Islamisation", where they waved Australian flags and carried signs saying "Yes Australia. No Sharia".

More than 3000 people clashed in Federation Square and blocked surrounding streets in the Melbourne CBD as it became a battleground of competing ideologies, with a rally by the Reclaim Australia movement and counter-protest by the left-wing No Room for Racism group.

Hundreds of police formed barricades to separate protesters but scuffles still broke out and paramedics had to treat assault victims for minor injuries.

Victoria Police arrested two men and one woman, with all three released pending summons.

Tempers flared as a Reclaim Australia supporter scuffled with a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing socialist protester.

More than 100 officers put up a line of bodies to separate the two groups.

Police get between protesters 'Reclaim Australia' protesters at Federation Square. Source: News Corp Australia

Protesters clashed heavily with police. Source: News Corp Australia

Eleven horses from the mounted division were also used to hold the crowds apart in Flinders St, as scuffles broke out across the square.

Reclaim Australia members claimed to be protesting against the rise of Islamic extremism and sharia law in Australia.

Several protesters tried to break the police line, and at least two men were heavily restrained by the police.

Many banners could be seen like this. Source: AFP

One policeman confiscated a long piece of wood from someone at the rally.

Police formed a corridor to corral Reclaim Australia supporters through the angry crowds as the rally drew to an end.

Counter-demonstrators tried to slow the exit, hurling abuse as the Reclaim attendees moved through the throng.

Reclaim Australia's speeches included an address by proclaimed "human rights expert" Daniel Nalliah.

The group's numbers grew significantly throughout the rally, but they were still outnumbered by socialist counter-demonstrators.

Anti-racist groups were there to fight back. Source: News Corp Australia

It didn't take long before things turned violent. Source: News Corp Australia

A massive cheer erupted among the Reclaim supporters as a group of members wearing blue singlets and war medals were let through to join their brethren.

"You said I wouldn't get in — who's the d---head now?" yelled one Reclaim supporter.

The Reclaim members sang renditions of Advance Australia Fair, but the anti-racism protesters' chants of "immigrants are welcome, racists are not" could also be heard throughout the CBD.

In Brisbane, the rally protesting Islam caused a tense stand-off between opposing ideologies in King George Square.

Between 200 and 300 protesters and a large turnout of police have gathered in the CBD's centre, chanting and waving banners.

Pauline Hanson joined the rallies in Brisbane. Source: News Corp Australia

Many protesters were draped in Australian flags and carried signs denouncing sharia law and halal certification for Australian products.

Former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson joined crowds in King George Square thanking those standing against racism.

She said she was a proud Australian fighting for the country's democracy, culture and way of life.

"I am not a racist. Criticism is not racism," she told the gathering.

A 30-year-old man was arrested for assault in Hobart, while two women were removed for breaching the peace in Sydney but not charged.

The Reclaim Australia rally meets with leftist protesters in King George Square in Brisbane.

Sydney rally organiser Sarah Spearpoint denied the Reclaim Australia group was racist.

She said protesters have a problem with Islamic extremists who want to live by sharia law and, like her, moderate Muslims also don't accept extreme views of their religion.

In Sydney, on either end of Martin Place, separated by a wall of police, anti-racist and anti-Islam protesters faced off near the scene of last year's Lindt Cafe siege.

On the lower end braving the rain on Saturday were vocal supporters of Reclaim Australia, a group pushing nationwide rallies against "sharia law, halal tax and Islamisation".

Many of the flag-waving crowd-goers, in the hundreds, chanted "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie — Oi, Oi, Oi" and were carrying homemade banners denouncing sharia law like in Melbourne and Brisbane.

But it was a proposition those in the anti-racist rally corner labelled absurd.

"There is no possibility of sharia law in Australia, that is just absolutely ridiculous," Tony Iltis said.

Mr Iltis was part of a smaller but passionate crowd that slammed Reclaim Australia's "racist" slant.

"Basically they are neo-nazis who are able to not look like neo-nazis because the mainstream has become so racist," Mr Iltis said.

STRONG LANGUAGE: Reclaim Australia and No Room for Racism activists clash in Hobart. Richard Jupe/Mercury

"I think the Muslim community needs to know that not all Australians are racist. I think they feel intimidated and how the Jews felt in the 1930s."

Tensions almost erupted when a woman ran on stage at the Reclaim Australia camp, grabbed the microphone and told the crowd they should be ashamed.

Riot police were quick to respond and quell any clashes.

Among the Reclaim Australia crowd, many sporting Australiana memorabilia, was Greg and his home-made sign that compared sharia law to paedophilia.

"I'm just standing up for our freedom of speech and way of life," he said, wearing a green and gold shirt.

Rally organisers deny Reclaim Australia is racist, but say protesters have a problem with Islamic extremists who want to live by sharia law.

Event organiser Sarah Spearpoint says, like her, moderate Muslims also don't accept extreme views of their religion.

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