Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew has criticized protesters who gave the Nazi salute during an anti-transgender demonstration that quickly turned violent, telling them Nazis are “not welcome” in the state.
Large crowds of protesters from two competing rallies clashed on the streets of Melbourne over LGBTQI+ issues as an anti-transgender activist, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, continues her speaking tour of Australia on Saturday.
The ugly display has already prompted calls for tougher laws to crack down on white supremacists from a Victorian MP, who said the display on the steps of Parliament was “unacceptable”.
Ms Keen-Minshull, who goes by Posie Parker, is a British woman who founded the group Standing for Women.
She describes herself as a women’s rights activist, but is best known for her anti-transgender views.
Members of the far-right National Socialist Movement stormed a rally between pro-transgender and anti-transgender activists in the Melbourne CBD on Saturday.
The group performed the Nazi salute, which was quickly condemned and prompted calls for tougher laws to crack down on white supremacists.
It is not suggested that he had any connection to the violence on Saturday.
But his controversial views are believed to have sparked the tense standoff between anti-trans and pro-trans activists outside Victoria’s Parliament House.
Masked men salute Nazis in Melbourne’s CBD as they stormed the rally between pro-transgender and anti-transgender activists.
His stunt has sparked outrage in the community, including a fierce rebuke from Mr Andrews on Sunday.
He condemned the protesters, saying their attempt to “spread hate” was not welcome.
“I wish he didn’t have to say it, but he clearly does: Nazis are not welcome,” Andrews wrote on Twitter.
Not on the steps of Parliament. Not anywhere.
“They were there to say that the trans community does not deserve rights, security or dignity.
That’s what the Nazis do. Their perverse ideology is scapegoating minorities, and it has no place here.
And neither are those who are with them.
Andrews said his government will “always support” transgender people in Victoria.
“And we will always respect you,” he said.
‘Because your rights are not negotiable.’
Anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (right) has been speaking at engagements outside state parliaments this week.
Ms Keen-Minshull discussing with pro-trans supporters on Saturday
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrew (pictured with his wife Catherine) criticized protesters who gave the Nazi salute during an anti-transgender demonstration that quickly turned violent, telling them Nazis are “not welcome” in the state.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside Parliament House on Spring St around midday.
The demonstration drew a heavy police presence to the area, including officers from the public order response team and mounted branch.
The group of men, dressed in black, gave multiple Nazi salutes while holding a sign that read: “Destroy the Paedo Monsters.”
At least 30 members of the far-right National Socialist Movement were seen marching down Melbourne’s Spring St in support of Ms Keen-Minshull.
All the men were dressed in black and some of the protesters wore balaclava-like masks during the protest.
The group was seen shouting insults at transgender activists and giving the Nazi salute while standing on the steps of parliament.
They were opposed by an even larger group of people advocating for transgender issues, who were heard chanting ‘Posie Parker, you can’t hide, you’ve got the Nazis on your side.’
The chant has been used in other demonstrations against the anti-trans speaker across the country.
Victoria Police tried to keep the two groups apart, but there was some fighting between the two sides.
Macnamara MP Josh Burns called for some tougher laws to be considered after yesterday’s event.
“The ugly alliance between anti-trans thugs and neo-Nazis on display in the city today was extremely confrontational,” Burns wrote on social media.
‘Both groups seek to intimidate and blame minority groups in their dark ideology.
“Scapegoating minorities is their business model, and it has no place in Australia.
“History has shown that minorities, including the LGBTIQA+ community, have been targeted before.
‘It’s disgusting, it’s intolerant and it should be denounced.
“The brazen march with neo-Nazi salutes in front of the Victorian Houses of Parliament is unacceptable.
“This is a time for us to consider whether stronger laws are needed.”
The police presence at the protest was intense, and officers tried to keep the two groups apart.
Victoria Police said they were present at the rally to keep the peace between the different groups.
It is estimated that around 400 people were there to support Ms Keen-Minshull, but they were outnumbered at least 2:1 by pro-transgender supporters.
It is unclear at this stage if there have been any arrests or serious injuries, as the event is still ongoing.
Victoria Police confirmed they were aware of the meeting.
“There is a highly visible police presence in the area to ensure that the peace is not disturbed and to keep the community safe,” a police spokesman said.
Ms Keen-Minshull’s tour kicked off in Sydney last Saturday and includes stops in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, before heading to New Zealand.
The controversial speaker was also met with protest actions at other stops, though this is understood to be the first time her supporters have clashed with pro-trans groups on tour.
It has made headlines in recent months after a speaker at one of its events quoted Adolf Hitler.
The anti-trans activist criticized a member of Britain’s House of Commons for mentioning murdered American trans teen Brianna Ghey in an International Women’s Day speech.