Protest: Aussie Pride vs No Pride in Hate - 
Melbourne, 25/06/17

-Handsome Josh 12/07/17
So a few weeks back I came across a number of these posters in the Melbourne CBD. What's this? An Nazi rally in my home town? This has got to be worth investigating!

It was a bit of a struggle finding rally information on the internet. Weirdly enough 'Nazi rally Melbourne' only brought up details of the counter protest. I eventually discovered the 'Nazi rally' was actually an 'Australian Pride March'. However that information didn't really help the search much either...


Eventually with some assistance I got to the bottom of it.
So the Australian Pride March was organised by a group called the 'True Blue Crew' and the counter protest 'No Pride in Hate' was organised by a group called 'No Room for Racism' and 'Campaign against Racism and Fascism' 
You can check out each of the links to get an idea of the groups behind them and the purpose they see for each of their demonstrations. Sunday finally arrived, I packed myself some lunch and headed into the city via Tram. Along the journey I was slyly scoping out my fellow passengers.Was the hooded guy next to me a Nazi? or maybe Antifa? His phone rang. It was his dad, he was visiting for Sunday lunch. Hmmmm Ok not him..what if no-one shows up? Was this really worth giving up my Sunday morning lie in?
We pulled up at Melbourne Museum tram stop, I along with 2 black-clad youths got out. Ah ha! Antifa were on the tram! Hard to recognise them without their cowboy bandit masks on.

Looking towards Carlton gardens I saw a group of about 30-40 people whom I headed over to. Ages ranged from say late 20's to late 60's, definitely an older crowd. I wasn’t there long before I was approached by an older gentleman who shook my hand and made some comment about 'another day, another fight'. I explained that I've come as a bit of a neutral, I had seen the flyers in town about a Nazi gathering and as a bit of a history buff with an interest in politics I wanted to see the story first hand. He told me about the fight against the fascists. I quizzed him on the Nazi element. Yes they are Nazis. Are they a Nazi political party?...well not really. Do you see an issue with calling people Nazis considering what real Nazis are? Responses got more and more vague until he just walked away.

I had a bit of a scope around and noticed an Antifa poster on a nearby bus-stop beyond which a group clad entirely in black was forming.. At this point I was a little nervous. I'm a free thinker in a group who seemed adamant that they were actually fighting the Nazis. This particular group 'Antifa' believe so strongly in their cause that they feel justified using violence to achieve their goals and anyone opposing them was in fact a Nazi. My concern was if people started marking me as a Nazi then I wouldn’t not get the insight I was after. I decided not to approach. Today I wanted to talk to the real protesters not the extremists.

 


I joined the main group again. There were some organisers now who were taping up their arms with yellow masking tape to indicate the were in charge. One of which approached me to advise that the Nazis were moving their protest and that we were moving too. I advised I was a neutral, that I had come from the left but having watched a number of similar protests in the USA with people all dressed in black with masks and weapons I have been thinking something isn’t right with an ideology that supports that. She advised that the black was simply because pepper spray stained clothes, and the masks were simply because Nazi stalkers take photos of protesters, find them on the internet and show up at their workplace and attack them.. She conceded that they could look a little intimidating. (Well that clears that up...) I should have pushed her as to why they were expecting to be sprayed. Her demeanor with me certainly soured when I suggested that maybe what they do gives everyone a bad reputation but before we could go down that rabbit hole we were interrupted by another steward who pulled her away as they needed to get to work.

 

I snapped some photos of the main protest group and their signs before they took off.


There was a more active police presence across the green and I noticed some Aussie flags, well that must be the Nazis! I followed the main protest some of the way towards them, and saw my first masked protesters..with rainbow flags..ok slightly less intimidating. Still masks and flags, I don’t like that one bit.


I came to the main protest. Woah! hundreds of police, police in riot gear, police on horseback. I was very very nervous now. Do I really want to get involved in this madness? Stakes seem high.

 


Being careful to approach from neither the Aussie pride or the counter demonstration side I made sure to take photos along the way. Me? I’m just media, don't mind me! I got some photos of both protests and the police presence and then thought 'to hell with it, I'm going in!'

 


Aussie pride side first. Nazis, Nazis everywhere..or are they? Well I’m white so I’m guessing I am safe unless of course they saw me earlier fratenising with the enemy..why oh why did I have to wear my easily distinguishable David Bain sweater?.

 

Aussie flags everywhere, probably a similar number of protesters as there were in the counter-protest. Chants of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi oi oi’. I was very hesitant walking in, there were certainly some rough looking characters, characters you would judge just based on looks to be racists even though that would be a totally unfair stereotypical characterisation. It occurred to me if they were all wearing heavy metal shirts I would feel 100% at ease. Why the anxiety now? is it the blue? Or is it the marketing of this event by the counter-protesters? Has seeing all these signs telling me these people are Nazis gotten to me? Much like with the Antifa looking fellas I decided I would be best placed not to approach what appeared to be the extremist fringe and instead headed for the meat of the demonstration.


I got chatting with 3 older gentleman. I explained I came as a bit of a neutral and that I wanted to get a real idea of what is going on, I also explained I planned to visit both camps and to hear what people had to say. They were very nice and shared with me their concerns with Islamic terrorism and Sharia law coming to Australia. They felt the counter-protesters across the way were socialists and communists and could ultimately destroy Australia. I told them about the poster which I'd seen in town that said this was a Nazi rally. They refuted this totally saying that the opposition call anyone who doesn’t agree with them as Nazis. They came across as very frustrated with how things were and very unhappy with academia's role in the leftist indoctrination of its students.

 


I ended up chatting for a while to one bloke in particular. He used to be involved in the army during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. He had a lot of knowledge regarding the Middle East and was very critical of Islam. I told him I was currently reading the Qur’an to get a sense myself of what was going on as reports from others seemed more interested in forming a narrative rather than giving an objective truth. He too said he had read the Qur'an and felt that it just jumped all over the place unlike the bible which flowed smoothly. He was a very religious person and told me of some religious experiences he had early in his life. He also told me about his work with street missionary and his successes bringing Jesus into peoples lives.

 

At this point some counter-protesters walked past hurling abuse at the ‘Nazis’, the police rushed to intervene as did a number of the Aussie pride guys. The police defused the situation admirably. At this point a megaphone was produced and chants got a lot louder. They started singing the national anthem, and being a Kiwi with sad memories of many an Olympic and rugby loss to the Aussies over the years, I took this as a time to move on and see the other side.

As I left the demonstration area I saw a Pride guy being patted down by the police. More counter-protesters wandered past hurling abuse, again the Pride guys responded with abuse in kind. Again the police defused.

 


I approached the counter-protesters from the road, they had a speaker but their numbers had grown considerably and I was too far to hear him. I saw a bush next to the protest which I crouched under to get closer to hear what was being said...Well sure enough David Bain sweater got some attention! A tapping of the shoulder with "Which side are you on?!" I turned to find a police officer. "Crikey!", (just realising how this may have looked a guy from the 'Nazi' side approaching the counter protest via a bush) "Sorry mate, just a neutral getting photos." He laughed and said "no worries, best you approach from the road so as not get confused with the other side". I said "all good' and did as suggested.

 

I wandered into the counter-protest. Much bigger contingent than earlier maybe a couple hundred or so. They has some speakers talking about the Nazis on the other side. They were saying that their leader wants a photo of Adolf in every classroom and a copy of Mein Kampf in every childs hand. Ok sounds bad. Lots of chanting. No more genocide, racist, anti-queer get out of here..or something. I was approached by an Indian bloke who asked if I wanted to sign up to future events. I said no I’m here as a bit of a neutral but would love to have a bit of a chat if he had a minute. He advised there was an official spokesperson that I would have to talk to. I said I’m more interested to talk to people on a personal level, he was not interested. Fortunately however an older gentleman heard me talk and was definitely keen for a chat.


He was very passionate. He had a 7 year old daughter (not with him) and felt that it was his duty to fight for her future. He was a very spiritual sort of person, telling me of some philosophers and spiritual writers to look into. I asked about his impression of the other side, he believed they were all Nazis. I told him that I had been over there and that this just wasn’t the case. He didn’t necessarily believe me and wanted to know what they stood for. I told him about about my chats from the other side. Funnily enough he too had a concern of Islamic extremism but he didn't feel there was a significant connection with Islam as a religion.

He was very concerned about the opposition to the safe schools program in Victoria, I asked him for specifics on this however he struggled to give me some other that that it teaches tolerance and diversity which of course sounds great. I said I really think that the majority of this group and that group would actually have some common ground, everyone just wants to live in peace and are concerned about society. A young woman next to me overheard and strongly advised ‘NO THEY ARE ALL NEO-NAZIS’ I started to suggest otherwise and got a we bit of heat from eaves droppers around so dropped it.

At this point I noticed the speaker had now turned their attention to the Victorian police, now calling them fascists and whooping up the crowd to do the same. I’m sorry, but what absolute pricks. The police were doing their job, allowing people to protest in a democratic society in a safe manner. The counter-protesters seem to think they were protecting the Nazis. They took the abuse admirably and just held their ground.

I had a bit more of a chat with the old guy, he said that this pride march was wasting valuable police resources and tax payer money which could have been going to schools and healthcare. I pointed out though that as a democratic society they have a right to protest  and that because of this counter-protest and the aggression they have demonstrated the numbers have had to be so high. He didn’t see my point, it was their duty to counter protest. He advised the other side raved about free speech but were the first to cry when a counter-protest showed up. Right, well time to swap sides again, I shook his hand, said goodbye and again headed back to the Pride side.


Now super nervous. I have now obviously been on both sides, what kind of a greeting will I get coming back? If only I can find that same group of old fellas, they’d stick up for me! As I wandered past I had a brief chat with a police officer. I told him how impressed I was by them doing their job here in incredibly trying circumstances and that the abuse they got was just horrible. He said it was just part of the job. I asked what was to happen next and he said there was supposed to be a march but the counter protest had blocked it, he said they would sort out an alternative route and they hoped that the march would still go ahead.

 


Right, back to the 'Nazis'..please don’t recognise me, please don’t recognise me….I stayed near the back. Chants were going up, the amount of people had increased to the point where I think maybe there was a 150 or so. I spotted a middle aged guy leaning against a tree, looked friendly so I said hi and told him what I was doing there. He told me about his frustrations with what he felt were immigration problems, specifically with the spate of home invasions going on at the moment. I wasn't previously aware of these. Apparently they were due to Sudanese immigrants involved in the apex gang. He said I wouldn't have been aware of it because ethnicity was not published in the press. I had actually noticed this phenomenon when they had the teenage riots during Somersault festival where the majority of publications reported 'teenagers' while a couple reported 'Sudanese teenagers'. His wife came over and we talked a little about Islam and their concern with what is going on in Europe and how they don’t want to see it here. I told them I was currently reading the Qur'an and was troubled by some passages in it. Any 1400 year old text that by its own definition is supposed to be seen as perfect and literal has got to be a concern.

 


The police presence suddenly sprung into action and the march started. A line of officers approached us and asked whether we were in or out. The couple I was with were in and I said no I’m neutral and will stay out, I wished the couple good luck and said ‘stay safe’. They said they’d be OK.

 


I was walking in between the two groups, trying to catch up. I caught a brief glimpse of Blair Cottrell the leader of the controversial United Patriots Front. I got to the main intersection and a number of the counter protesters burst off with a number of police in pursuit. It was just craziness.

I saw a bloke with long hair looking unconscious (he wasn’t)  on the ground surrounded by police , (he will feature again and be known as 'Mr floppy body'). I followed as much as I could and was taking a live stream when I suddenly realised I was in front of the actual moving march and fast had the police line coming behind me telling me to move away. I scurried off ahead taking some more footage as I went (unfortunately mostly of the ground and the sky..). I found some other members of the public stranded like me and we joked ‘Does this mean we are in the march now?!’


I headed up to parliament steps where the march was due to finish. The police were lining up, the counter protest were already herded across the road by a line of police. On the steps themselves were 5 counter-protesters locked arm in arm with anti-Nazi signs. They were ready to resist. I got my camera out as the police arrived and dispersed them. I noticed another protester just laying on the ground acting unconscious, why if it isn't my old friend Mr Floppy Body! He must have literately sprinted from his previous temper tantrum to Parliament steps in order to have a more public tantrum where he would be carried off instead of humiliatingly just ignored. Good on ya mate!


I headed off up Parliament step to get a better vantage point of the scenes below. The arm interlinkers were now below me chanting out to the Aussie Pride guys who were now at the steps. My favourite moment was the 'No Nazis ever again!' chant, to which an Aussie pride marcher responded 'I'm Jewish f%$kwit' ..confused look..'Well you should know better then!' Gold, absolute gold. The police line had now moved up the steps and had cut me off from the main protest so I couldn’t hear the speeches which were now going on amongst the Pride marchers.

No Nazis ever again! I'm Jewish f%$kwit!

I spotted a Chinese bloke with a Kekistan flag. Kekistan for those who don't spend way too much time on the internet is a fictional country created on a politics message board as a bit of a trolling piss-take towards the domination of social justice warriors and identity politics today. It has it's own anthem, it's own god 'Kek' and is ruled by a Meme called Pepe the frog. Bizarrely enough this Pepe Meme has become a political symbol today. Yes it all sounds very crazy but in a way it is also absolute genius. What better way to invalidate complete insanity than with crazy humour? This video explains it a whole lot better than I ever could.


Anyway cut off from the protest we had a good chat about the craziness of the protests. At one point Mr Floppy Body popped in again to try and harass the police one more time by standing right in front of one with his phone out, I assume to film him and try and get a reaction. (he didn't get one.)


The Pride group were doing their speeches but the counter-protest were ensuring that I was not able to hear a thing. Eventually Aussie Pride marched back one way and the counter-protest herded off the other. My new mate went to follow the 'Nazis' while I went to follow the 'Communists'.



By the time I crossed the road a line of police were blocking me off anyway. Well I’m done I thought. I Met some more police on the way back to my pickup point and thanked them for their exemplary service today.

 


While waiting for my ride a small group of younger people headed my way with an Aussie flag. They had matching ‘Aussie Infidel’ shirts. I tried having a chat with them to ask about their group but they just said 'We’re Australian!' and marched off. Came off as absolute jerks to be honest, not a good look. Another older bloke with the same shirt also came past. I tried the same approach and he was more than happy to talk. Same story with those I had heard from earlier, concerns about Australian society, why is it wrong to be proud to be Australian? He said he’s in his late 40’s he had no desire to be out protesting like he is but felt that things had gotten so bad that he had to there was too much at stake. This was extremely reminiscent of the older guy I talked to at the counter demonstration. I said I understood some of his concerns and I pointed out how the young people had acted from his group and how that sort of attitude will only reinforce the public and the counter-protesters attitude towards them. Poor guy was in a shirt and clearly freezing, I thanked him for his time and let him go.

 


So that was my day at protests. From which I have quite a few takeaways.

  • I am a terrible camera person and not the bravest interviewer. I'll be definitely looking for some assistance for the next one for the camera work and I'll be a little more prepared to ask some more challenging questions to really get to the heart of what people were believing.
  • If I was to pick one side that was the most violent it would 100% be the counter-protesters. There seems to be a real misguided dangerous fanaticism there which should be of real concern.
  • Having said that, I would still not feel comfortable bringing my non-white friends to the Pride side. I initially couldn't quantify why I felt that and thought that maybe it was just me stereotyping rough looking individuals. That was until I reviewed mine and others footage where I got some concrete evidence. (More on that below)
  • The organisation of the counter-protest was extraordinary. Placards had been made up in advance. Chants had been developed/borrowed from overseas. The had appointed stewards informing people where to go. They had an official spokesperson, legal representatives for police altercations and they even had a ute with a huge sound system on board which they eventually managed to set up to try and drown out the Pride speeches.
  • Just because they are organised doesn't mean they are in the right. This video (taken by someone who knows how to use a camera) illustrates just some of the hypocrisy of these people. The one in pink is their legal witness, very happy to take invasive pictures of each of the police but suddenly shy when she realised she is being recorded. Same too of the anti-police chants and that lady who was personally abusing an officer until she saw she was being filmed.
    I mean did she really think that the police were in cahoots with the Aussie Pride group? Did she really think they were there just for the 'Nazi' protection. If they stepped aside what was she going to do?, charge forth with righteous anger and strike down the oppressors? Or would she be relying on the masked Antifa cronies to do her dirty work? It's fanaticism pure and simple.

So to my big question, Who are the fascists, really?

Well firstly every single one of these masked Antifa morons. They freely admit they use violence for political gain (see definition of 'Terrorist'


But that's not all. Although I didn't personally see it at the time upon video review it turns out there was actually a Nazi element there.

This absolutely sickens me.

Apologists can't even say that this was just one crazy person. She is openly wearing a swastika and having spotted her again late in the protest on Parliament steps then it would appear that no effort had been made to remove her or any associates. 


How on earth can the 'True Blue Crew' or anyone in this march claim they are not white supremacist Nazis if they allow these people to march with them?

How can they claim to respect the lives of soldiers fallen or the Anzac spirit if they allow people to march alongside carrying symbols for which our forefathers died fighting against?

Whatever point they had in their protest is completely and utterly wasted. How can you even call yourselves proud Australians if you harbour this element amongst you?
There cannot be any Australian pride in that.

Many thanks for your time,


Handsome Josh :)