Demonstrators Clash In Rallies Around The Nation

22/11/2015 7:06 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Co-ordinated Reclaim Australia rallies in capital cities around Australia have met with counter rallies from anti-racism demonstrators, resulting in violent confrontations and arrests.

At Melton Civic Centre in Melbourne, six people were arrested as police intervened in over 1000 people clashing over the a proposed mosque in the area.

The group called No Room For Racism held an opposing rally, chanting nearby "Muslims are welcome, racists aren't".

One man from Reclaim Australia was arrested for punching a police horse, while five others were arrested for weapons offences and riotous behaviour. Capsicum spray was also used on some No Room For Racism protesters.

In Sydney, a number of Reclaim Australia supporters were arrested, including one man who allegedly tried to graffiti a war memorial. Reclaim Australia protesters carried signs saying "Multiculturalism Is Genocide", and wore Australian flags as capes and masks.

Police said the alleged vandal was arrested at the rally in Sydney's Martin Place on Sunday afternoon, while two other people at the same rally were detained by police.

"One person has been arrested for allegedly graffiting the commando memorial in Martin Place," a NSW police spokeswoman told HuffPost Australia.

"Two other people have been ... detained and moved to another location."

Similar clashes occurred in Brisbane, where No Room For Racism protesters outnumbered Reclaim Australia demonstrators, in Canberra, where opposing protesters were separated by police and temporary barriers and remained peaceful, and in Perth, where around 300 Reclaim Australia protesters met around the same number of anti-racist protesters.

One Reclaim Australia protester in Melbourne told the ABC the group was not racist: "I want my kids to have the same upbringing as I had, I want our kids to be able to sing the national anthem, have Christmas carols at their schools and not have to put up with the hijab.

"Why do they need to build their own mosque and their own schools when they can send their kids to our schools?

"They need to assimilate and become a part of us."

Canberra Anti-Racism Network organiser Dean Maloney told Fairfax Media it was vital that the community band together to show racism was unacceptable.

"It's important that Muslims, Indigenous people, refugees, the people who often bear the brunt of racism, are shown that they don't stand alone," he said.

"There are people who support them and won't let bigoted views go unchallenged."

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