Far-Right protesters displayed Hitler salutes and clashed with counter-protestors ahead of anti-immigration rally in Melbourne.
Two people were arrested after neo-Nazis returned to the steps of the Victorian Parliament and clashed with police and counter-protesters, almost two months after fascists gate-crashed an anti-trans rights rally on Spring Street.
Victoria Police – which deployed more than 200 officers across the city on Saturday – denounced the group of about 25 neo-Nazis who arrived an hour early for a midday “anti-immigration protest”.
A 30-year-old Doreen man was arrested for allegedly stealing a body-worn camera and assaulting police. A 20-year-old Werribee man was arrested for allegedly discharging a missile and assaulting police.
The group of far-Right protestors arrived at about 10am, and soon after were moved on by police, according to footage posted online.
The two counter-protests largely kept their distance, until police moved the neo-Nazis south along Spring Street at about 11.50am.
Soon after, a group of counter-protesters ran across Spring Street from Little Collins Street, evading a police cordon to the north.
Several objects, including glass jars, were thrown towards the neo-Nazi group, before other officers arrived, making several arrests and deploying capsicum spray until the groups were separated.
“Like the community, police were appalled at the acts displayed in Melbourne today,” the police statement said.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe in our community regardless of who they are. We understand incidents of antisemitism can leave communities feeling targeted, threatened and vulnerable. Hate and prejudice has no place in our society.”
A Victorian government spokesperson also condemned the “disgraceful and cowardly” behaviour.
“These people are inciting hatred towards Jewish people and other minority groups, and it won’t be tolerated in Victoria.
“Victorians have zero tolerance for this behaviour and so do we,” the spokesperson said. “That’s why we’ll expand our nation-leading legislation banning the Nazi Hakenkreuz to include the Nazi salute – because everyone deserves to feel safe, welcome and included in Victoria.”
Photo: Neo-Nazi protesters face-off with anti-fascist activists during a protest opposing immigration at Fitzroy Garden in Melbourne on Saturday. (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)