Beginning on Easter Saturday 2015, Reclaim Australia, a right wing, conservative, anti Muslim group was to hold nationwide rallies promoting their views regarding the ‘Islamification’ of Australia. While most capital cities rallies barely raised a blip on the anti racist radar, in Melbourne left wing groups formed an alliance and organized a ‘counter’ rally to prevent Reclaim Australia’s rally going ahead.
When the two met at Federation Square around 1.00 pm it was anything but. The enormous police presence was rendered useless as the early arrivals for Reclaim Australia claimed their patch atop the mezzanine level of the Square but were encircled by outraged, anti racism supporters. This left no access for the late Reclaim Australia members to join their kinfolk other than to break through the walls of leftists.
When members of the newly formed United Patriots Front, a militant right wing group aligning itself with Reclaim Australia arrived, violence ensued. Scuffles and fistfights broke out like spot fires and the original purpose of the rally and counter rally became lost amid the violence. Women screamed at each other, then upon realizing they where on the same side, hugged. Leftist sympathizers got trampled by mounted Police after taking the fight to those there to serve and protect them. Men got beaten to the ground and taken away in ambulances or divvy vans.
Further rallies and counter rallies have been organised in the months that followed with the same outcomes. The UPF has now distanced itself from the Reclaim Australia group and gathered momentum in regional cities such as Bendigo where they protest the building of a mosque. Anti racism groups travel from Melbourne to voice their protests and take with them a militant faction known as the 'Young Anarchists".
Photographed for Fairfax Media via Getty Images and syndicated wordwide by Getty, these images were captured over an ongoing period of confusion, violence and embarrassment for Melbourne and Australia in which both the right to free speech and the right to disagree has been lost amid a sea of violent tendencies, which has become the main focus of the two groups.