by Finbar O’Mallon | @finbaromallon
Thousands of people clashed as anti-racist protestors and Reclaim Australia members on Saturday, the two groups violently confronting each other at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
At Federation Square, a counter-protest led by No Room for Racism and other groups formed a barrier around Reclaim Australia protestors to prevent them from leaving and others entering.
In attendance at the rally was Daniel Nalliah, a man who claims to have risen several people from the dead and is also the leader of the Rise Up Australia Party. Nalliah spoke at the Reclaim Australia group and then chanted “no Centrelink” at anti-racist protestors.
Several times anti-racist and racist protestors came to blows often as anti-racists would attempt to steal signs or Australian flags off racist protestors.
Victoria Police formed a barrier between both groups however there were still several gaps and people trying to enter the Reclaim Australia group were blocked by anti-racist protestors forming a barrier in front of police lines.
Reclaim Australia’s John Oliver told the ABC the protest was not about race. In Melbourne, Catalyst observed one member tell a black anti-racist protestor to “go back to your own fucking country, you cunt”.
Catalyst also observed several people with swastika tattoos attempting to join the Reclaim Australia protest, with Herald Sun photographer David Crosling photographing one man with two swastikas tattooed on his head.
One Reclaim Australia protestor was injured when he fell to the ground – either by accident or by being pulled by anti-racist protestors – and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
Police eventually corralled the Reclaim Australia rally around Federation Square, past Princes Bridge and to Flinders Street Station where anti-racists and Reclaim Australia engaged in another face off.
Soon after police forced the two groups to disperse.
Photos by Finbar O’Mallon.