Angry anti-racism and anti-fascism campaigners gathered together on the 3rd of April in Swanston Street to protest against anti-Islamic group Reclaim Australia. The rally was held outside the State Library at around 2 pm and consisted of approximately sixty protesters, who chanted and displayed anti-racism messages such as “Say no to Islamophobia” and “Muslims are welcome, racists are not.” It was the one year anniversary since Reclaim Australia held rallies around the country to protest against Islam.
Reclaim Australia is an organization which has held rallies across Australia from 2015 to protest against Islam.
The anti Reclaim Australia rally was organized by the society of ‘Radical women’, which stands to campaign against racism and fascism in Melbourne. Activist Debbie Brennan is part of the organization and displayed a sign titled ‘War and Austerity are the problem. Go after Capitalism!’, claiming that Reclaim Australia needs to be eradicated.
“We have been counter-mobilizing all year, and we have kept the fascists from building a big movement.” Said Mrs Brennan. “We are going to continue to do this, and we have to build a really big anti-fascist movement.” Although Police were present at the rally, no violent acts or injuries occurred.
Reclaim Australia has held rallies over the past year in Melbourne and other cities around Australia including Canberra, Perth and Brisbane. Due to the formation of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front was established in May 2015, further opposing Islam in Australia.
Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front opponent Andrew Lebusque expressed that Islamophobia is “unfounded”. “To say that all of them (Muslims) are exactly the same is silly because not even everyone here in this little square where we are are the same,” said Mr Lebusque. “I’m not the same as you, or the guy right next to me. To think that all Muslims act and think the same way doesn’t make any sense.”
Campaigners claimed they were hoping to face-off with Reclaim Australia protesters, however they did not show up.
“They’ve slowly been pushing their Muslim agenda, and slowly but surely bringing in agendas about anti-Jewish and anti-women and it is just getting more and more extreme,” Mr Lebusque stated.
Twenty-five year old Australian Nathan Hunt said he is not surprised at the absence of Reclaim Australia. “The cowards that they are, what do you expect. That group is just too ridiculous to even be real,” said Mr Hunt. “Real Aussies welcome you no matter where you’re from or what religion you practice.”