- Police confiscated a firearm from a bus load of anti-Islam nationalists.
- Members of the group had posted on Facebook mentioning ‘firearms’.
- Police are now seeking new public orders to combat the rallies.
- Anti-racism protesters clashed with anti-immigration groups on Saturday.
- Police were forced to spray the angry crowds in pepper spray.
- One man was arrested for assault, others detained for riotous behavior.
A gun was confiscated from a bus carrying a group of anti-Islam protesters from Sydney to Melbourne.
Police have revealed they seized the weapon when they stopped the bus which was heading to the Reclaim Australia rally in Melbourne. .
Police searched a bus carrying members of the far right group United Patriots Front after being alerted by social media posts from members of the group.
The shock revelation has led to claims police should be given new powers to deal with rising violence between anti-Muslim protesters and anti-racist groups, reports The Age.
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Members of the United Patriots Front had referenced ‘packing firearms’ on Facebook in the lead up to the rally, triggering a search of the bus.
Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said a potential ban of masks was one measure police are seeking to help combat future protests.
‘On the weekend we had a lot of people wearing masks, and face masks, and things like that, when police lines are breached we use other tactics like spray and mechanisms like that.
‘And people wearing safety glasses, protesters wearing safety glasses, and protesters wearing face masks, things like that, we probably need to look at, around – is that on?’
Both anti-Muslim and anti-racist groups have already vowed to hold further protests.
Extreme right-wing protesters and anti-racism activists clashed with each other and police in Melbourne’s CBD during the protests, with dozens pepper sprayed and four people arrested during the ugly scenes.
The dramatic events were sparked by a rally held outside Parliament House by a pair of anti-Muslim groups, Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front.
Groups opposing the ‘racist’ event, Rally Against Racism and United Against Islamophobia, flooded the area and attempted to confront people at the planned event.
Dramatic pictures taken during the violent clashes show a number of protesters with bloodshot eyes desperately having milk poured on their faces after being pepper sprayed by police officers trying to control the crowds.
Other photographs show a number of people with their faces covered by masks, scarves or jumpers carrying signs and flags, marching through the streets and confronting police.
More than 450 officers were forced to try to control the protests, which lasted for more than four hours and resulted in a number of streets in Melbourne’s CBD being closed off.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman estimated 550 were involved in the rallies and said there had been no serious injuries.
Anti-racism protesters significantly outnumbered the ring-wing groups.
Coalition Against Racism and Fascism spokeswoman Vashti Kenway said the group had mobilised protesters to send a message to Muslims, indigenous Australians and migrants that not everyone supported racist views.
Politicians have been quick to criticise the scenes, with Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino saying ‘people don’t like seeing’ such protests, and that they only spread the message of violence.
‘The message to all Victorians is that the spreading of hatred and the spreading of bigotry is not tolerated,’ Mr Merlino said.
Prior to the event, comments from protesters on both sides of the event foreshadowed the violent scenes seen on Saturday.
Threats began to appear on social media earlier in the morning, led by one woman who said ‘blood will be spilt’ in a post on the United Patriots Front Facebook page.
‘UPF I hope you all have private health insurance because there’s thousands of lefties ready to crack some skulls today,’
Saturday’s clashes were the second time tensions between the groups had boiled over in Melbourne this year, after the city was marred by another ugly incident in April.
Other events have also been held across the country, with a similar protest scheduled for Sydney’s Martin Place on Sunday. Federal MP George Christensen will speak at another event in Mackay, Queensland.
The rallies coincide with a Muslim celebration that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Whilst I applaud the Reclaim Australia movement for its stance against Islam, I do not condone racism in any shape or form , I must criticise the Australian Patriot movement for allowing itself to be infiltrated by obvious neo Nazi style white supremacist groups.
They are not alone in this however as the movement in the UK and other European countries experience the same problems.
Until these usurpers are rooted out the true patriot movements, who are genuinely concerned about the steady increase of Islam and the inevitable consequences, will be unable to garner support from the general public.
PATRIOTS…CLEAN UP YOUR ACT… THE CAUSE IS JUST …THE INFILTRATORS DETRACT FROM THE TRUE MESSAGE!