They lost. Again.
Despite S C R E A M I N G ! headlines, the day was relatively uneventful, with relatively small crowds (a few hundred people in total), very few, minor clashes on the margins, and an overwhelming police presence. Two counter-protesters were arrested in Carlton Gardens as police responded to the burning (or attempted burning) of a handful of flags, while one or two PUFers also got arrest.
In terms of numbers, approximately 100 or so members and supporters of the Bendigo- and Melton-based ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) and the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF) — along with various other racist and fascist dregs — assembled near Parliament House (Parliament Gardens) this morning, intending to rally outside the building at 11.30am and then to march thru the CBD. Perhaps 2-300 other people attended a counter-rally at the same location.
Prevented from occupying the space outside Parliament, the TBC & Co were instead escorted by police up Nicholson Street to the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building. There, kettled by police, they gathered outside the main (southern) entrance, where they waved flags and chanted. My favourite patriotik chant — undertaken with great gusto from within the kettle — was ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’
Confined to the area immediately outside the main southern entrance to Royal Exhibition Building, the << facho >> held a static demo for the better part of an hour, surrounded by police, media, and bewildered tourists. At around 1.30pm, the police permitted the small group to leave, escorting them the brief distance from the building to the corner of Nicholson and Gertrude. About half jumped on a charter bus (Bendigo Bus Company; registration number 0401 AC) — presumably to piss off back to Bendigo and Melton — while the remainder (about 40-50 people) were escorted by police the short distance to Parliament station, where they (presumably) jumped on a train.
The last time the UPF rallied in Melbourne they attracted a crowd of about 40 or so; the fact that only roughly that number assembled again today suggests that they’ve failed to build in the intervening period.
More later, but in the meantime, see also : Far left, right-wing groups rally: Anti-Islam, anti-racism groups protest in Melbourne, The Age, June 26, 2016 | Violence breaks out after anti-immigration, anti-racist rallies in Melbourne, ABC, June 26, 2016.
more and later
Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Thus I should add that the TBC and UPF’s numbers were heavily supplemented by members and supporters of Danny Nalliah’s Catch the Fire Ministries/Rise Up Australia Party (RUAP). Both party leader Danny Nalliah and VP Rosalie Crestani addressed the gathering, the Jesus freaks joining the Jew-haters in patriotik unity. Other familiar faces included a handful of Party for Freedom supporters: Toby ‘Golden Dawn’ Cook and George Jameson. Indeed, local PFF supporter Hong Shen was at one point given the great honour of leading the racist schmucks. LOL. For further information on the PFF and its handful of members, see : Anti Fascist Action Sydney on the Party for Freedom. Old mate Phill Galea made an appearance (but failed to blow up, cattle prod or Tase any body), as did (ex-?) PUFer Linden Watson, Tim Wakeling, UPF leaders Blair Cottrell and Thomas Sewell and TBC level boss Kane Miller.
See also : The Goddam Election! with John Safran (SBS, June 26, 2016) : ‘John Safran investigates the micro parties contesting the 2016 Australian Federal Election, revealing bizarre alliances that [upend] perceptions of Australian multiculturalism, uncovering what could be the most religious election ever. As the nation heads towards a neck-and-neck election, the micro parties supported by Australia’s religious minorities could end up with a balance of power. Join Safran as he cracks the lid on unlikely alliances and surprising frenemies in his inimitable style.’