Canberra, November 13, AZERTAC
Six people have been arrested at a Reclaim Australia rally in Melbourne as police worked hard to contain increasingly rowdy crowds, according to Sky News.
Police said a 29-year-old man was subdued with capsicum spray and charged with animal cruelty after punching a police horse, while three have been charged with weapons offences and two men, aged 22 and 44, were taken into custody for riotous behavior.
Barriers were erected in a bid to avoid violence between right-wing group Reclaim Australia and counter protesters at the Melton rally on Sunday.
A Reclaim Australia speaker said his rally represented 'a gloves-off, bare-knuckle battle' between supporters of Islam and the 'truths' of his organization’s message.
Melton men Brad and Warren were two of about 500 people at the Reclaim rally.
'We're here for the right reasons. Some people might be here for the wrong reasons, and the right reason is making sure everyone assimilates and becomes Australian,' Brad told AAP.
'We don't want to be treated like we don't belong in this town, and we don't want an organization where people of certain origins have been making trouble. We don't want trouble in our town.'
As Reclaim Australia prepared to march to a post-rally barbecue, surrounded by police, a message was passed through the ranks in readiness for a clash with the rival mob.
'All the boys on the outside. Girls in the guts. If these pricks want to start anything, we'll be ready,' one man said.
On the other side Deborah, a Bendigo resident who rallied for the mosque in Bendigo, said she was at the Melton rally to counter the 'hatred' spread by anti-Islam protesters such as Reclaim Australia.
'All of a sudden there was a lot of hatred in Bendigo and I hated that. I could see a lot of hatred from the other side,' she told AAP, referring to anti-Islam protesters.
She said she was invited by the Bendigo Action Coalition to participate in Sunday's rally.
The 500 police kept a close watch on both sides, stepping in quickly with capsicum spray to quell trouble, and tempers cooled in the early afternoon as the demonstrators dispersed.