SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Ethnic tensions erupted Sunday into running battles between police and a mob of thousands of youths, many chanting racial slurs, at a beachside suburb in southern Sydney.
At least three people were arrested and several injured in alcohol-fueled fights. Television images showed police protecting an ambulance being pelted with beer bottles and a group of young women attacking another woman.
Other youths stamped on police vehicles and police officers fought back with batons and pepper spray.
The behavior, “is nothing short of disgusting and disgraceful,” said Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin. It’s certainly not the Australian way.”
“What has been occurring on some fronts is that people of Middle Eastern backgrounds that have been seen in the Cronulla area, a swarm of the crowd has approached these people with vile abuse, in the most un-Australian way,” Goodwin said. “We have a number of reports of persons that have been assaulted.”
A police spokesman commenting on usual condition of anonymity said three men, aged 16, 29 and 34 were arrested and were being questioned after fights erupted among some 5,000 people who converged on Cronulla beach in southern Sydney.
Many youths were carrying beer bottles, waving Australian flags and chanting racist slogans following reports that youths of Lebanese descent were responsible for last week’s attack on two of the beach’s life guards.
Earlier this week police boosted the number of officers patrolling the beach after mobile phone text messages began circulating calling for retaliation for the attacks.
New South Wales political leader, Premier Morris Iemma, on Saturday warned police would deal with any trouble makers.
“Let there be no mistake — if anyone comes to this beach on the weekend with the intention of causing trouble, the police will respond with the full force of the law to maintain order,” Iemma said. “It’s time for everyone involved in this to just calm down.”
Islamic Friendship Association of Australia president Keysar Trad said the violence was “bound to happen” after callers to some talk radio shows whipped up ethnic tensions following the attacks last weekend.
“Sections of the media took this issue far too far and one can only surmise that the way (these) issues was dealt with on talk back radio amounts to incitement,” Trad said.
He said the media turned a dispute between youths into an issue of ethnicity.
I DO NOT CONDONE WHITE PEOPLE RACISM. BUT I DO NOT CONDONE MUSLIM RACISM EITHER. And if normal people sees they are bound by laws that do not apply to Muslim people, I think there will be more tensions of this type in the future.
Riots have broken out around Cronulla (a suburb of Sydney), the area descended upon by thousands of people today in answer to the Lebanese Muslim gangs that sought to ‘take over’ the beaches by assaulting local families and beating lone surf life savers.
Update: violence has broken out again this evening around Maroubra: large scale vandalism, spurred by Muslim gangs once again, as they now roam the streets in cars, taking to passing people and parked cars with baseball bats, seeking vengeance for today’s events; events they wilfully started last week. Casualties have begun. One young man has now been stabbed, protecting a group of three girls he was with, all of whom were set upon by yet another carload of men of ‘Middle Eastern’ appearance. They threatened to rape the three women, apparently; the lone 26 year old man moved to defend them (odds these creatures seem to rather like). He was knifed in the back (of course). No news yet of his status, other than the fact that he arrived at hospital with the knife still lodged in his back.
Update II: reports are circulating that some of tonight’s roaming (Lebanese) gangs are carrying firearms. The streets are not the place to be. This is just absolutely terrific, isn’t it. . .
Bring on the quarantine. Bring it on now.
Update III: “. . .up to 50 carloads of youths have smashed over 100 cars with baseball bats and other weapons in the eastern beach suburb of Maroubra, in apparent retaliation of the Cronulla beatings. ”
The young stab victim was 23, not 26. He’s been admitted to St George Hospital, and is listed as serious. No news yet as to who he is.
Update IV: apparently a group of 50 local people chased after the car smashers on foot. Further reports of trouble at Kyeemagh and Brighton Le Sands (beachside suburbs – south Sydney).
Update V: one Leftist paper’s take this morning (1:07 a.m.) – ‘The violence followed a week of simmering tension following an attack the previous Sunday on two lifesavers.’
Oh really? That’s all this is about, is it guys? The bashing of two lifesavers? No – sorry – as bad as that was, that’s NOT all this was about. Families out for a day at the beach have been systematically singled out for assault (and their men for beatings) by these nasty little bastards, and you know it. How absolutely typical.