Clashes, anger and arrests in Melbourne as ‘neo-Nazis’ allegedly show up at gender-critical rally

Pro trans-rights activists clashed with a “women’s rights” protest in Melbourne on Saturday (23 March), with some claiming that there were neo-Nazis in attendance at the event.

Around 100 people showed up to a #WomenWillSpeak rally on Saturday, held by an organisation called the Women’s Action Group.

According to their bio on YouTube, the Women’s Action Group was founded to oppose self ID by transgender people: “In 2019, a small group of women from regional and rural Victoria formed Women’s Action Group… The main focus of that founding year was to resist the changes proposed to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act that would allow ‘sex’ self ID in Victoria.”

The rally attracted counter-protesters who showed up in support of trans rights, and the two groups clashed. At least two protesters were tackled to the ground by officers before pepper spray was deployed, according to Daily Mail Australia.

In footage posted to X/Twitter, a man identified by the press as a “women’s rights” protester is seen violently assaulting two trans rights activists, before grabbing one by the throat and slamming them against the wall.

The shaven-headed man wore sunglasses and appeared to be using a camera tripod as a weapon.

Trans rights activists have clashed with a man – this happening in front of people trying to enjoy a meal pic.twitter.com/mkOGSNgaut

— Mitch Clarke (@96mitchclarke) March 23, 2024

Some attendees also took to X/Twitter to allege that a “neo-Nazi” YouTuber had shown up at the protest.

One person tweeted: “A neo-Nazi youtuber attended today’s anti-transgender rally at Parliament House of Victoria. He wore a shirt that read, ‘XX REAL WOMAN’ on the front and ‘RWDS’ (right wing death squad) on the rear, with a visible sonnenrad tattoo. An attendee of the rally said he was her security.”

A neo-nazi youtuber attended today’s anti-transgender rally at Parliament House of Victoria. He wore a shirt that read, “XX REAL WOMAN” on the front and “RWDS” (right wing death squad) on the rear, with a visible sonnenrad tattoo. An attendee of the rally said he was her security pic.twitter.com/dmNxipkwKT

— Alex Zucco (@zucco_alex) March 23, 2024

Another claimed that the first person to speak at the Women’s Action Group’s rally was a “neo-Nazi”, writing:

“The 1st person to speak at the TERFs rally in Melbourne was a neo-Nazi. The organiser arranged for him to welcome supporters. He was wearing a t-shirt with a neo-Nazi ‘death rune’ symbol on the sleeve. I thought it was a ‘life rune’ at first, but was wrong.”

The 1st person to speak at the TERFs rally in Melbourne was a neo-Nazi. The organiser arranged for him to welcome supporters. He was wearing a t-shirt with a neo-Nazi “death rune” symbol on the sleeve. I thought it was a “life rune” at first, but was wrong. pic.twitter.com/qyMIfISaaF

— Simon Stevens (@DrSimonStevens) March 23, 2024

The rune on the man’s arm in the image above is indeed an inverted life rune, which the anti-defamation league list as a neo-Nazi symbol.

The ADL describe it as “a very common white supremacist symbol, used by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.”

The man was also pictured holding a microphone and apparently speaking to the Women’s Action Group members in a follow-up photograph.

Check out this Nazi with the mic at the #letwomenspeak event in Melbourne. TERFS Nazis pic.twitter.com/1HKgD6PUb1

— Jenn (@JA_Jorm) March 23, 2024

A previous rally by the Women’s Action Group attracted widespread condemnation after a member made vile comments apparently calling for the death of a transgender person.

The speaker, who said her name was Louise, attended an anti-trans “Speakers’ Corner”-style event in the city of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, on 17 September 2023, organised by the WAG.

During her speech, Louise said she “heard of a man who was 70 or something and got a sex-change operation”. She went on: “Give me a break, what a shame he didn’t die on the table.” 

The comment elicited gasps from other campaigners in the crowd. 

Speaking about the 23 March rally, a Victoria Police spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia it was unhappy with the violence that broke out during the rally: “Victoria Police has been left disappointed at the behaviour of many attending a demonstration in the city today,’ a police spokesperson told the publication.

“Our members were confronted by hostile members of the crowd who acted out violently towards police. We have a long history of supporting peaceful protest but will not tolerate disgraceful and unlawful behaviour.”

“Two women aged in their 20s were arrested at the scene and are expected to be charged on summons,” the spokesperson added.

Anyone who witnessed unlawful behaviour, has footage or other information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

The post Clashes, anger and arrests in Melbourne as ‘neo-Nazis’ allegedly show up at gender-critical rally appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.