Immigration rallies spark fears of violence
The Melbourne Leader, April 8, 2010
An estimated 400 pro- and anti-immigration supporters will square off in the CBD tomorrow amid fears of violence.
The anti-immigration rally, organised by the Melbourne Action against Immigration and Islam, will begin tomorrow at 1.30 pm at Flinders St Station and finish with a march to Parliament House.
A Unite against Racism Rally counter-rally will be held at the same time and location.
Unite against Racism organiser Jacob Grech said had been told police would be out in force during the rallies, with officers patrolling on horseback.
Mr Grech said more than 300 people would attend the rally, including the Greens candidate for the state seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt.
'The message of our rally is to celebrate Melbournes diversity and letting the racists know that we dont want their racist violence in Melbournes streets,' he said.
'Their rally is the same kind of public displays that were taking place in Sydney a couple of months before the Cronulla riots.'
As of today, 52 people had registered interest in attending the anti-immigration rally on the events Facebook page. Site administrator Mark Hill was not available for comment.
Islamic Council of Victoria vice president Sherene Hassan urged Muslims not to attend the rally because of fears over potential violence.
'ICV is of the view that there is potential for violence if the two groups come in proximity to each other,' she said.
Victoria Police spokeswoman Sen-Constable Mia Paterson would not provide details on police operations at tomorrows rally.
But she said police were aware of the event and would be monitoring it.