Thursday, December 10, 2015

Cronulla rally: Supreme Court bans Sydney race riot 'memorial'

Police restrain a man in Cronulla (11 Dec 2005)

The New South Wales Supreme Court has ruled a rally to mark 10 years since race riots in Sydney's Cronulla suburb cannot go ahead.
Police had sought an injunction against Saturday's planned gathering, arguing that it could stir tensions.

The far-right organisers of the rally were billing it as a "memorial".
Organiser Nick Folkes, leader of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom, said the decision was an attack on free speech but that he would not stage the event.
Mr Folkes told the court he would submit to the "unjust request" and would make clear on his party's website that it was cancelled. He also agreed not to address any public gathering that did occur.
Anti-Islam protesters at a rally in Sydney (Nov 2015)Image copyrightReuters
Image captionAnti-Islam groups have held a series of rallies in recent weeks
He said instead, he would hold a "halal-free" barbecue - it was unclear whether that would take place at the Don Lucas Reserve, the site of the banned rally.
Police have said there will be an operation in place on Saturday around Cronulla in case of unrest.
A second injunction is also being sought by the local council and community groups.
In November, a series of protests were held across the country by anti-Islam groups. In some places protesters clashed with anti-racism groups.

Cronulla race riot: how it happened

  • Cronulla is a predominantly white community. It has Sydney's only beach easily accessible by train from the western suburbs, which are home to a large Muslim population.
  • A week prior to the riot in 2005 two surf lifesavers were assaulted, in what was believed to be an unprovoked attack by a large group of men of "Middle Eastern appearance".
  • Texts and emails were used to circulate calls for a revenge fight and a rowdy crowd of about 5,000 gathered on the beach on 11 December
  • The crowd turned, bashing two young men of Middle Eastern appearance, then running to the nearby train station after hearing Lebanese passengers were arriving.
  • There were retaliation attacks from gangs of young Muslim men.
  • Conservative Australian broadcaster Alan Jones was found to have incited hatred for describing Lebanese Muslims as ''vermin'' and ''mongrels'' in the lead-up to the riots.

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"mungo park" by Coredo Bello