SHAFAQNA -Â Rolling rallies by Reclaim Australia group continue across country, with anti-racism protesters confronting the right wing Islamophobes.
Hostility and anti-Islam sentiment erupted on Australian streets for a second day Sunday as rolling rallies continued across the country.
On the streets of Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and many other places,Â anti-racism protesters again confrontedÂ right wing Islamophobes.
The threatÂ ofÂ violence was met with a strong uniformed police presence.
In Sydney mounted officers on horseback were forced to separate angry, screaming protestors on opposing sides.
The chanting was loud and angry echoing placards that stated: â€˜Child Brides Australia Says Noâ€; â€œDeport Muslimsâ€ and â€œBan the Burqa a Symbol of Oppression,â€
Conversely, anti-racismÂ placards read:Â â€œHey Racists, Go Homeâ€;Â â€œNazis Get Off Our Streetsâ€; â€œSay No to Ignoranceâ€.
Anti-racism activists told reporters that in Melbourne during Saturday’s rallyÂ police had exhibited â€œbrute forceâ€ and pepper spray was sprayed indiscriminately into the crowd.
Reports claimed that more than 100 people had required treatment.
A statement issued by the Melbourne Street Medic Collective and sent to Anadolu AgencyÂ by one of the organisers of Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, which protested under the anti racism banner, states that pepper spray was used on â€œan injured man who was struggling to breathe, was losing consciousness, and was awaiting an ambulanceâ€.
Spokesman for the Islamic Council of Victoria, Kuranda Seyit, attended yesterdayâ€™s rally in Melbourne said the use of pepper spray by police was â€œan over-reaction.â€
Seyit expressed â€œsadnessâ€ at the level of violence and lack of â€œdecorumâ€ displayed on both sides.
He said: â€œThe message that racism isnâ€™t cool was lost in the violence between rednecks and anti fascist anarchists.â€
In Melbourne on SaturdayÂ four people were arrested, while in on Sunday there were five arrests as protesters from the anti-Muslim group “Reclaim Australia” and a counter group, under the banner “No Room for Racism,”Â clashed violently in Martin Place near the scene of last yearâ€™s Lindt CafÃ© siege.
No Room for RacismÂ protester Ben Cooper told the press that in Sydney participant numbers were down on Melbourne, where itâ€™s estimated the count was 10 to 1 in favor of the anti-racist combined groups.
â€œThere was around 100 Reclaim Australia activists in Sydney and 600 of us opposing them,â€ Cooper said.
â€œAs a gay man I wanted to take a stand in support of multiculturalism and say that we’re all different and we all benefit from that,â€ he said.
â€œI’m also concerned about the bigoted, extremist views of Reclaim Australia and their agenda, which is that the real Australian is white, conservative, Christian and straight.â€
No Room for RacismÂ organiser Mel Gregson toldÂ Anadolu AgencyÂ that the message that they’re trying to get across is that with racism and Islamophobia on the rise â€œitâ€™s becoming dangerous,Â and not only for Muslims but all minority groupsâ€.
One Nation Founder Pauline Hanson — aÂ right-wing populist,Â whose strident opposition to multiculturalismÂ has formed the bedrock of her party — addressed the Reclaim Australia rally in Rockhampton on Sunday.
She toldÂ Anadolu AgencyÂ that she is concerned about â€œthe Islamization of Australiaâ€ and Halal certification.
â€œIâ€™m anti Islam, [so]Â that is going to cause civil unrest in this country because of the differences in culture,â€ she said.
â€œIâ€™m totally against Sharia Law. There is a push to bring it here. Once a population grows to a certain percentage they start demanding and getting what they want. Thatâ€™s why in France there are over 740 no-go zones that police canâ€™t enter because theyâ€™re Muslim dominated,â€ she claimed.
Hanson told the rally in Rockhampton: â€œI see divisions happening in our country and itâ€™s purely based on Islam.
â€œIâ€™m not targeting Muslims — Iâ€™m targeting the ideology, what Islam stands for — and it is very different to our culture and Christianity.
â€œThis is a peaceful rally and the rest of Australia will see this.â€
Both sides claimed victory at all events.