Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrew has criticized protesters who gave the Nazi salute at an anti-transgender rally that quickly turned violent, telling them Nazis are ‘not welcome’ in the state.
Large crowds of protesters from two competing rallies clashed on the streets of Melbourne over LGBTQI+ issues as an anti-transgender activist, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, continues her tour of Australia on Saturday.
The ugly display has already led to calls for tougher laws against white supremacists from a Victorian MP, who said the display on the steps of parliament was “unacceptable”.
Ms Keen-Minshull, nicknamed Posie Parker, is a British woman who founded the group Standing for Women.
She describes herself as a women’s rights activist, but she is best known for her anti-transgender views.
Members of the far-right National Socialist Movement crashed a demonstration between pro-transgender and anti-transgender activists in Melbourne CBD on Saturday
The group gave the Nazi salute, which was quickly condemned and led to calls for tougher laws to crack down on white supremacists
There is no suggestion that she had any link to Saturday’s violence.
But her controversial views are said to have fueled the tense clash between anti-trans and pro-trans activists in front of Victoria’s Parliament House.
Masked men gave the Nazi salute in Melbourne’s CBD as they crashed the demonstration between pro-transgender and anti-transgender activists.
Their stunt has sparked outrage in the community, including a fiery rebuke from Mr Andrews on Sunday.
He condemned the protesters and said their attempt to “spread hate” was not welcome
“I wish it didn’t need to be said, but it clearly is: Nazis are not welcome,” Andrews wrote on Twitter.
‘Not on the steps of Parliament. Not everywhere.
“They were there to say that the trans community deserves no rights, security or dignity.
That’s what Nazis do. Their evil ideology is to scapegoat minorities – and there is no place for that here.
“And neither do those behind them.”
Andrews said his government “will always support” transgender people in Victoria.
“And we will always respect you,” he said.
“Because your rights are non-negotiable.”
Anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (right) has spoken at rallies outside state parliaments this week
Ms Keen-Minshull argued with pro-trans supporters on Saturday
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrew (pictured with his wife Catherine) slammed protesters who gave the Nazi salute at an anti-transgender rally that quickly turned violent, telling them Nazis are ‘not welcome’ in the state
At noon, dozens of protesters gathered outside Parliament House in Spring St.
The rally drew a large police presence in the area, including officers from the public order team and the mounted branch.
The group of men, dressed in black, gave multiple Nazi salutes while holding a sign that read, “Destroy Paedo Freaks.”
At least 30 members of the far-right Nationalist Socialist Movement marched down Melbourne’s Spring St in support of Ms Keen-Minshull.
The men all wore black and some protesters wore balaclava-like masks during the protest.
The group was seen shouting insults at transgender activists and giving the Nazi salute as they stood on the steps of parliament.
They were opposed by an even larger group of people advocating for transgender issues, chanting “Posie Parker, you can’t hide, you’ve got the Nazis on your side.”
The chant has been used at other anti-trans speaker rallies around the country.
Victoria Police tried to keep both groups separate, but there were some clashes between the two sides.
Macnamara MP Josh Burns called for tougher laws to be considered after yesterday’s event.
“The ugly alliance between anti-trans bullies and neo-Nazis on display in the city today was extremely confrontational,” Burns wrote on social media.
“Both groups try to bully minority groups and blame them for their dark ideology.
“Scapegoating minorities is their business model and there is no place for that in Australia.
“History has shown that minorities, including the LGBTIQA+ community, have been targeted before.
“It’s filthy, it’s bigoted and it needs to be called out.
“The brutal march with neo-Nazi gun salutes in front of the Victorian Parliament is unacceptable.
“This is a time for us to consider whether stricter laws are needed.”
There was a heavy police presence at the protest and officers tried to keep the two groups separate
Victoria Police said it was on site at the rally to keep peace between the different groups
It is estimated that around 400 people showed up to support Ms Keen-Minshull – but pro-transgender supporters outnumbered them at least 2:1.
It is unclear at this stage whether there have been any arrests or serious injuries as the event is still ongoing.
Victoria Police confirmed they were aware of the meeting.
“There is a highly visible police presence in the area to ensure peace is not disturbed and to keep the community safe,” said a police spokesperson.
Ms Keen-Minshull’s tour began in Sydney last Saturday and includes stops in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, before heading to New Zealand.
The embattled speaker also faced protests at other stops, though it’s clear this is the first time her supporters have clashed with pro-trans groups on the tour.
She made headlines in recent months after a speaker at one of her events quoted Adolf Hitler.
The anti-trans activist was critical of a member of the British House of Commons who called murdered American trans teenager Brianna Ghey in a speech on International Women’s Day.