Riots or Demonstrations?

THE ST KILDA DEMONSTRATIONS JANUARY 2019

 

            Early January 2019 saw a demonstration at Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach against the Sudanese gang crime wave and the inability of Victoria’s government to handle African crime. The leaders of the demonstration Blair Cottrell of the United Patriots Front and Neil Erikson, both legends in their own mind, were joined by Senator Fraser Anning who used taxpayer’s money to fly down from Queensland. About 100 supporters turned up.

            So-called anti-fascists staged a counter-protest and one drove by in a car with a loudspeaker broadcasting “Sudanese are welcome, racists are not”. This drew the ire of the so-called right wing demonstrators although there seems to have been no real violence. Police arrested three people, one for breaching bail conditions, one for a drug charge and another for possessing a dangerous article namely a bag containing fishing sinkers. Some others were temporarily detained over public order incidents and then released. (1)

            The media took the usual biased approach calling the demonstrators neo-Nazis and racists even though some were of Vietnamese origin. Admittedly some of the demonstrators did give Nazi style salutes and some are said to have shown Nazi insignia. (2)

            The presence of the Vietnamese among the protestors was not surprising as they have also been having problems with African crime, and in December there were at least two violent incidents in the Melbourne suburb of St Albans. Social media posts by Vietnamese workers warned “there will be machetes and guns out” and it was time to “set up the Asian patrol squad”. (3)

            Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor frontbencher Penny Wong both criticised Senator Anning, not just for using $3,000 of tax payer’s funds to fly to Melbourne but for associating himself with “extreme and offensive racist views” and legitimising “fascist” views. Neither bothered to mention the ongoing problem of African criminals. (4)

            In late December a gang of drunken youths were moved on from Melbourne’s Chelsea Beach when two gangs confronted one another. One youth was arrested for drunkenness and criminal damage at about 6pm. At about 9:30 pm a group of “African-Australian” youth returned to the beach and targeted family groups and beachgoers stealing wallets, purses and mobile phones. A man who confronted the youths was assaulted and the youths fled. (5)

            A week after the original protest hundreds of counter-protestors gathered outside the State Library of Victoria to again criticise the far-Right rally and Senator Anning. (6) And the media grew worse if anything in joining in the criticism of the Right wingers and Senator Anning while ignoring or downplaying African crime.

            So apart from a lot of noise what is the result of this whole affair? No much really and most of what happened was pretty predictable. Cottrell, Erikson and their supporters got some free publicity, and their leftist opposition and many in the media got to play reverse racists and get their faces in the news. But then again the fact that these demonstrations can go on says something positive about our democracy regardless of what we feel about the views expressed by either side. And no doubt Africans will continue to commit more crime and our government will continue to bring in more refugees who will present more problems.

 

(1) Lorette Florance & Jean Edwards, “St Kilda Far-Right Rally Draws Hundreds of Police, Rival protestors”, ABC News Online

(2) Anthony Colangelo, “Victoria a ‘Hotbed’ for Far-Right)”, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 January 2019

(3) Ryan Tennison, “Traders Vow to Hit Back”, Herald Sun, 28 December 2018

(4) Anthony Galloway, “PM Blasts Anning Over Rally”, Daily Telegraph, 8 January 2019

(5) Tony Jones, https://www.3aw.com.au/glassing-thefts-and-assaults-in-a-night-of-shocking-gang-vio… 28 December 2018

(6) Angelica Snowden, “Hundreds Protest Nazi Rally”, Sunday Telegraph, 13 January 2019                       (ANI 87 Summer 2018-19)