Eight people have been charged following rival anti-Islam and pro-diversity protests around Australia.
THE anti-Muslim rally by far-right group Reclaim Australia in Sydney has been a fizzer, with more police and media turning up than protesters.
Around 400 people registered to attend the rally in Sydney’s Martin Place on Saturday afternoon, drawing a heavy police and media presence in the fear of a violent clash.
But only dozens arrived carrying Australian flags and signs saying “ISIS refugees not welcome” and “Stop the Invasion”.
On Twitter, some people posted jeering comments about the poor turnout, along with pictures of children and others protesting against the protesters and the invasion of Muslim Australians’ rights.
One man posed with a placard saying “F*** Reclaim Australia”.
Community publisher Serkan Ozturk of @PR4People claimed that just 50 protesters turned up with more than 100 police and dozens of media.
Reclaim Australia organisers issued edicts on Facebook on Saturday night ahead of the rally that people wearing face coverings would be banned.
Police warned of potential traffic disruptions and plans for road closures in the streets bordering the protest area.
Operation Commander Superintendent David Donohue also warned that they would ensure protesters were lawful and that officers would tolerate any criminal, anti-social or dangerous behaviour; if you choose to do the wrong thing you’ll be removed and dealt with accordingly”.
“The same will apply for anyone who attempts to cause disharmony or incite conflict with those who may hold opposing views,” Commander Donohue said.
But the few with views opposing Reclaim Australia included a smiling young girl holding a sign saying “Say yes to freedom of religion” and a man holding up a placard with “Say no to racism against Muslims” with a heart scrawled underneath.
A handful of Reclaim Australia supporters gathered on a set of steps in Martin Place brandishing signs saying “Aussie prise never die” and “build that wall” with an image of Donald Trump.
Supporter Dan Evans, who spoke at the rally, told the crowd he would not “submit to inferior cultures”, Nine news reported.
“I will not submit to inferior cultures … to communist, left-wing, Marxist ideologies,” Mr Evans said.
“Australia is a monoculture. One culture, an Australian culture- the superior culture.”