‘Neo-Nazi buffoons continue to perform pathetic stunts’

Neo-Nazi and anti-fascist groups came to blows in violent clashes in Melbourne over the weekend.

Police made two arrests at the rally on Saturday. Photo: Diego Fedele/AAP
Police made two arrests at the rally on Saturday. Photo: Diego Fedele/AAP

Violent clashes erupted in Melbourne over the weekend as neo-Nazi and anti-fascist groups came to blows, resulting in two arrests and police intervention.

The confrontation unfolded as a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi group, led by notorious figure Thomas Sewell, planned to gather at State Parliament on Saturday at midday for an anti-immigration protest. Concurrently, an anti-fascist group organised a counter-rally, aiming to disrupt the neo-Nazi gathering by commencing 30 minutes earlier.

Despite police efforts to keep the two opposing groups separated, objects, including glass jars, were thrown between them. One arrest involved a 30-year-old Doreen man, who was charged with theft of a body-worn camera and assaulting police, while the other arrest involved a 20-year-old Werribee man, facing charges of discharging a missile and assaulting police.

The rally occurred less than two months after Sewell’s group participated in an anti-transgender protest outside Parliament House.

A spokesperson from Victoria Police told The AJN, “We understand incidents of antisemitism can leave communities feeling targeted, threatened and vulnerable. Hate and prejudice has no place in our society.”

In Victoria, it is not currently an offence to perform the Nazi salute. However, “where there is an imminent breach of the peace arising from this behaviour police can act and that occurred [on Saturday] in an early incident between opposing groups,” the police spokesperson added.

President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) Daniel Aghion, said “The CSG is working closely with Victoria Police to keep the Jewish community safe, while the JCCV is in regular dialogue with the attorney-general and her staff to ensure Victoria’s laws will be updated to appropriately address the current threats.”

He added that these “neo-Nazi buffoons continue to perform pathetic stunts to try and intimidate and threaten our community”.

“In a welcoming, peaceful and multicultural society, this behaviour is reprehensible and goes against the values of the broader community.”

Dvir Abramovich, chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission said, “Neo-Nazism is alive in Melbourne as white supremacists have declared open slather on immigrants, trying to insert themselves into the conversation by holding this rally and stoking fear on this issue.”

He added, “Such hate-filled rhetoric can have deadly consequences.”

To report incidents of antisemitism contact CSG via 1300 000 274 or via the JEAP app.

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