The shocking moment a gang of far-right thugs marched down a busy Melbourne street performing the Hitler salute has been caught on camera on an ugly weekend for the Victorian capital.
The ugly scenes occurred on Saturday when rival protesters clashed outside the Victorian State Parliament during a ‘Let the women speak’ rally in the city.
The footage showed mounted police officers corralled the crowd while insulting one another, while police officers on the ground formed a human chain to prevent opposing protesters from clashing.
A group of about a dozen men dressed in black and wearing ski masks stood in formation as the gang’s leader, Thomas Sewell, yelled: ‘Get over here, Communists!’
The group, which was flanked by two people carrying Australian flags, brandished a sign reading ‘destroy paedo fans’.
The men stood silent with their arms raised in a Heil Hitler salute as the much larger opposition crowd chanted over and over: ‘Unite, unite to fight the right!’
The thugs then walked into the crowd of protesters being held back by the police and taunted them while giving Hitler salutes.
A man, who was wearing a black cap and had his balaclava around his neck, could be seen smiling and laughing.
Victoria Police were criticized for failing to stop neo-Nazis from brazenly performing their Heil Hitler salutes.
Victorian Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt said officers prevented a fight between rival groups but were unable to stop the actions of neo-Nazis.
In response, Attorney General Jaclyn Symes announced Monday that the state would strengthen its anti-libel laws to ban the Nazi salute.
“The behavior we saw over the weekend was shameful and cowardly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto will move to expel Moira Deeming MP from the Parliamentary party for her role in the anti-transgender demonstration outside state parliament.
English anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (pictured right) ‘Let Women Speak’ spoke at the event outside Victorian Parliament
Victoria Police have been criticized for failing to stop neo-Nazis (pictured) from giving the Heil Hitler salute on Saturday
Ms Deeming spoke at British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull’s ‘Let Women Speak’ event outside Victorian Parliament.
However, members of the National Socialist Movement repeatedly performed the Nazi salute on the steps of Parliament House and carried signs calling transgender people offensive names, sparking violent clashes with hundreds of counter-protesters.
“It is clear that this (Nazi salute) is being used to incite hatred not only towards the Jewish people, but also towards our LGBTIQ+ community and other minority groups,” Ms Symes said.
‘Victorians have zero tolerance for this behavior and so do we.
“That’s why we’re expanding our country’s leading legislation banning the Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) to include the Nazi salute, because everyone deserves to feel safe, welcome and included in Victoria.”
Liberal MP Moira Deeming (pictured) faces expulsion from her party for attending the same rally
Dr. Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, which launched a campaign in January to ban the Heil Hitler salute, welcomed the move.
“A terrible mistake has been corrected and anyone who loves this country will support this ban,” he said.
“This decision honors the sacrifice made by our diggers who died to defeat Hitler and honors the victims and survivors of the Holocaust who rebuilt their lives here.”
Pesutto said Sunday that scenes of black-clad white supremacists marching down Spring Street were an “abomination” and an “affront” to values that all Victorians should hold dear.
He said he met with Ms. Deeming on Sunday afternoon and they discussed her involvement in organizing, promoting and participating in the demonstration.
Pesutto said Ms Deeming’s position was “untenable” and that he would table a motion at the next meeting in the party hall to expel her as a member of the parliamentary Liberal Party.
“This is not a free speech issue, but a parliamentary party member associating with people whose views are abhorrent to my values, the values of the Liberal Party and the wider community,” Pesutto said.
Victoria’s attorney general, Jaclyn Symes, announced Monday that the state will strengthen its anti-libel laws to ban the Nazi salute.
A man was seen smiling and laughing as he gave what appeared to be a Nazi salute in front of the protesters.
“Regardless of their religious faith, race, sexual preference and identity, Victorians everywhere should know that the Liberal Party is inclusive and can be a voice for them.”
Ms Deeming was elected to the Victorian Parliament last year as a member for the Western Metropolitan Region, taking over from controversial MP Bernie Finn.
In a social media post, Ms Deeming, a former teacher and Melton city councillor, said she was disappointed in Victoria Police for allowing masked men into the demonstration buffer zone.
“Police managed to stop hordes of (trans rights activists) but somehow only managed to get masked men past us (while) doing a horrible Nazi salute,” he said on Twitter.