Anti-racism activists turn violent at Cronulla rally

People regarded as being anti-Islam protesters have been set upon by members of a large anti-racism crowd numbering in the hundreds that has gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots.

The anti-racism protesters – including a vocal minority called Antifa (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 the Antifa members 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 30 Antifa members who shouted at her to "take that fascist flag off now".

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 a 25-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. 

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 other in 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, he said "peaceful confrontation is not going to work with these people. We
have tried that in the past. We will not tolerate any fascism in our country." 

Antifa members carried red, black and white flags with the words Antifaschistische Aktion, the name of a 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.

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, a crowd of 120 anti-Islam protesters were outnumbered by members of NSW Police, the Riot Squad and weekend joggers.

"I'm here to celebrate a free Australia and freedom of speech and to celebrate Australian culture with a halal-free barbecue of a pig on a spit," said Nick Folkes, chairman of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom.

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

"Everyone in Australia should have the right of assembly," said Folkes, who claimed that the tyres on his car had been slashed overnight, "no doubt by the useful idiots on the left".

The meeting was attended by Danny Nalliah and Rosalie Crestani of the Rise Up Australia Party, Kim Vuga of the Love Australia or Leave It Party, and independent Sergio Redegalli, who become known for his "Say No To The Burqa" murals in Newtown.

"I have studied Islam for the five years and I can tell you that it is impossible to reform," said Redegalli, who arrived early in a 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 denounced multiculturalism, the media, the United Nations ("United Nonsense") and the politically correct left.

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

He said he wanted to tell all Muslims that "If you are dying in jihad you are not going to get your 72 virgins in heaven but 72 devils who will torture you in hell."

Some in the crowd voiced regret for the violence of 10 years ago.

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

This article Anti-racism activists turn violent at Cronulla rally was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.