Islamophobic protesters hit Sydney streets

Rival anti-Islam and anti-racism rallies saw hundreds protest across Australia

Islamophobic protesters hit Sydney streets

World Bulletin / News Desk

Around 100 members of Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front groups hit the streets with a anti-Islam rally in Sydney on Sunday. Some of the slogans they are chanting are declaring "Say no to Sharia" and "Immigration is the elephant in the room".

Besides over 200 people gathered for a counter-demonstration and stood against Islamophobia and racism. Police had to interupt in order to prevent any clashes and separate the rival groups who encountered Sydney city center.

Five people were arrested at the Sydney demonstrations, according to a New South Wales state police spokesman, with two expected to be charged.

A day earlier, on Saturday, there were some brief scuffles but no sign of the violence seen in Melbourne, where police had to use capsicum spray to subdue protesters.

"While there were a small number of people who chose to do the wrong thing, the majority of participants cooperated with police, which allowed for a peaceful demonstration," NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Clarke said in a statement.

Reclaim Australia leaders claimed not to be racist, but simply standing against "Islam's radicals both inside and outside of Australia". 

Government MP George Christensen told a Reclaim Australia demonstration in Mackay in northern Queensland state it would be naive to think his country was not at war with extreme Islam. He added he was "sad" to see neo-Nazis at the Sydney and Melbourne rallies. 

Former politician Pauline Hanson, who rose to prominence in the 1990s as head of the right-wing, anti-immigration party she co-founded, said, "We have other different religions that have never been a problem in Australia. I'm not targeting Muslims - I'm targeting the ideology, what Islam stands for."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2015, 11:35