Media figure ‘attacked’ at wild neo-Nazi rally
Controversial activist and Youtuber Avi Yemini has claimed he was “violently attacked” by extremists at a Melbourne neo-Nazi rally.
Members of the National Socialist Network organised an anti-immigration rally at Victoria’s Parliament House on Saturday, but were met by a much larger group of counter-protesters.
In footage from the scene, Yemini, a far-right media correspondent who was filming and interviewing people at the protests, was heckled by several counter-protesters.
Taunts of “Avi you dog” and ”wife-beater” were heard as he made his way through the crowd, before a scuffle broke out between Yemini, his security and several men.
During the brief incident, a man swing what appears to be a metal pole at Yemini’s head before he is pushed away.
“Today I was violently attacked in Melbourne for doing my job,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Not by the extremist Nazis. Instead, the people pretending to be there to counter them.
They attacked a Jew in the name of fighting Nazis. Let that sink in.”
Earlier, police and neo-Nazis clashed on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House hours before the “peaceful” rally was set to begin.
Footage of the conflict has emerged on Twitter, showing items being hurled during the confrontation in Melbourne about 11am.
Members of Melbourne’s National Socialist Network had planned the event from midday on Saturday, but ralliers and counter-protesters began arriving on Spring St from 10am.
“We are organising in opposition to the system’s importation of 715,000 immigrants … further exasperating the housing crisis and ethnic replacement of white Australians in their own suburbs and towns,” a flyer for the event reads.
“This will be a peaceful and legal demonstration.”
Trigger warning; Nazi pic.twitter.com/uFaSCLCjc6
— Alex Grey. (@AlexGrey156) May 13, 2023
Prior to the clash with police, members could be seen unfurling a banner reading “living space for whites: stop immigration”.
In response, Victoria Police declared the CBD a “designated area” from 7am to 7pm, granting police stop and search powers.
“Police officers and protective services officers are empowered to search a person and any thing in the possession or control of the person, or a vehicle for weapons,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“A police officer may also exercise their power under the Act to request you to remove any article covering your face or direct you to leave the designated area if you refuse to remove the face covering, or if the police officer reasonably believes that you intend to engage in conduct that would constitute an affray under s. 195H, Crimes Act 1958 or violent disorder under s. 1951, Crimes Act 1958.”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police were aware of the protest and would maintain a “highly visible” presence in the CBD.
“Officers are equipped and well prepared to deploy resources to ensure the safety of the community and to keep the peace,” she said.
“Hate and prejudice hold no place in our community and we will not tolerate any offensive and abhorrent anti-social behaviour.”
Protesters were seen performing the Seig Heil, a salute used by Nazis at rallies, which the Victorian Government pledged to ban.
The move came after about 30 Neo-Nazi’s attended a controversial event by UK gender activist Kellie-Jay Keen on March 18, performing the salute on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House.
Last year, the Victorian Government successfully banned the public display of the Nazi symbol with penalties of up to almost $22,000 in fines and 12 months imprisonment.
A counter-protest has been organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism group, who labelled the rally “a despicable, racist, anti-immigration event”.
“The relationship between mainstream racism and the far right couldn’t be clearer,” the group said.
“It’s time for anti-fascists to spring into action. Let’s show up in numbers to prove that Melbourne is an anti-fascist town.
“Stand with us! Stop Nazis in their tracks.”
Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dr Dvir Abramovich said the rally on Saturday was an effort to “normalise their abhorrent belief” by stoking fear on immigration.
“What is driving this demonstration is ‘The Great Replacement Theory’, the belief that the white race itself is threatened with extinction by a “rising tide of non-white immigrants” controlled by a cabal of Jews,” he said.
“Brenton Tarrant actually used the slogan ‘The Great Replacement’ in his manifesto before massacring 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch.
“I call on every political leader to unequivocally condemn this dangerous rhetoric and for the state government to outlaw the promotion and glorification of Nazism.”