Australian left, right risk clash in same-sex marriage row

Australian left, right risk clash in same-sex marriage row, by Chip Le Grand.

Australia’s march towards same-sex marriage risks turning violent as anti-fascist activists urge supporters of ­marriage equality to take to Melbourne’s streets in a show of force against the homophobic far right.

Emerging right-wing figure Avi Yemini, an anti-Islamic former Israeli army officer, is organising a rally on the steps of state parliament on Sunday to push for tougher bail and sentencing laws and the deportation of immigrants convicted of violent crimes.

His Trumpesque, “Make Victoria Safe Again’’ rally, backed by Reclaim Australia, the True Blue Crew and other nationalist groups, is on a collision course with an “antifa” counter-protest in which masked anarchists, Socialist Alternative activists and militant unionists are set to march through the city to confront it. …

If the groups clash in the Melbourne CBD amid an expected heavy police presence, those scenes will be broadcast just as many people are considering which way to vote in the survey.

Rainbow flags will fly at the head of the antifa column, alongside anarchist and militant left symbols. Antifa organiser Debbie Brennan, a former teacher and community worker, said some marchers would wear masks and others may carry shields.

Melbourne’s antifa movement, considered Australia’s most militant, is a loose coalition of left-wing interests. Sunday’s march, organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, is ­titled “From Charlottesville to Melbourne: Unite to Fight the Far Right.’’ By last night, almost 400 people had indicated they planned to march.

Other groups involved are the Socialist Alternative, Freedom Socialist Party, Melbourne Anarchist Club and the Black Feminist Ranter — and Jews Against Fascism, which has taken a particular interest in Mr Yemini’s emergence as a political figure.

Mr Yemini said antifa’s targeting of his rally was personal. After activists assaulted conservative columnist Andrew Bolt, Mr Yemeni started an online petition to have the group proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

Antifa attacking Andrew Bolt in Melbourne

hat-tip Stephen Neil