Australia police make arrests as far-right and anti-racism groups face off in Melbourne

Police in riot gear spent more than three hours trying to separate the two groups who were yelling at one another at St Kilda Beach on Jan 5, 2019.
Police in riot gear spent more than three hours trying to separate the two groups who were yelling at one another at St Kilda Beach on Jan 5, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MELBOURNE - Australian police have made at least three arrests after hundreds of far-right and anti-racism groups faced off on Saturday (Jan 5) at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, according to local media reports.

Police in riot gear spent more than three hours trying to separate the two groups who were yelling at one another, and scuffles broke out, said Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on its website.

The scuffles spilled onto the road when far-right protesters attacked a car with a loudspeaker broadcasting "Sudanese are welcome, racists are not".

Multiple men among the right-wing protesters were seen giving Nazi salutes, said news.com.au site, which showed pictures of men displaying the offensive gesture.

Victoria's police Superintendent Tony Silva told a news conference later that one person was nabbed for breaching bail conditions, another on a drug charge and a third was charged with possessing a dangerous article.

Several others were temporarily detained before being released, ABC reported him as saying.

"We had ample police to control the matter today... We had specialist resources in the air, we had specialist resources on the water as well (and) we had our canine resources," Mr Silva said.

"I certainly felt like we had it under control. We joined our forces to do that in a safe manner."