Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi.
A planned show of strength by racists and neo-Nazis in Melbourne backfired when once again far-right protesters were outnumbered 20 to one on July 18.
Far-right racist group United Patriot Front has been bragging on Facebook for a couple of months about how it was going to take on the left in Melbourne. United Patriots Front (UPF) and the other racist group that it split from earlier this year, Reclaim Australia, had high hopes for a big turnout at their rally in Melbourne
Their rally ended up being a flop with only around 50 Reclaim Australia protesters and 60 UPF protesters showing up.
The Reclaim Australia/UPF rally was explicitly anti-Muslim, peddling many myths about Islam.
Mike Holt from the racist Restore Australia, an organisation which has campaigned against mosques being constructed, was quoted by the July 18 Age as saying he was “disappointed by the turn out”.
Meanwhile, about 2000 anti-racists counter-mobilised to demonstrate that the majority of people in Melbourne stand in solidarity against the racist, Islamophobic ideas of Reclaim Australia/UPF.
The hundreds of police mobilised seem to favour the neo-Nazis. Late-arriving UPF members were able to reach the steps of Parliament House after police used pepper spray to cut a path through the anti-racist protesters.
The anti-racist rally could have been bigger if it wasn't for the public threats of violence by the UPF. The UPF had said on social media that they would be bringing weapons such as guns and knives to the rally. Some anti-racism activists were scared off by that.
The police also put intense pressure on the Muslim organisations to withdraw support from the rally.
The racist rally was protected by around 500 police.
Despite the pressure of the police and the threats of violence, Melbourne people showed that the racists are the minority opinion.
The anti-racist counter rally was organised by two groups – No Room for Racism and Coalition against Racism and Fascism.
Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi: