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‘Cowardly’: Masked neo-Nazis slammed for Ballarat protest

Eli Green and Jordan McCarthyNCA NewsWire
Neo-Nazi protesters march down a Ballarat St. Twitter
Camera IconNeo-Nazi protesters march down a Ballarat St. Twitter Credit: NCA NewsWire

Police are investigating whether a teenager performed a Seig Heil salute at a neo-Nazi demonstration which has outraged a Victorian city.

About 30 masked men dressed in black took to the streets of Ballarat on Sunday, where they were heard chanting white supremacist slogans while carrying a banner reading “Australia for the White Man”.

Victoria Police have confirmed they are investigating the alleged use of the “Nazi salute” by a teenage boy during the march.

A spokesperson said a 15-year-old boy, who police believe was “not attached to the group”, is helping police with their investigation.

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Video has emerged of officers taking the boy into custody while the balaclava-clad protesters walk past.

Two officers can be seen pinning him to the ground before dragging him to his feet and speaking to him.

The salute, along with other Nazi symbols like the Swastika, has been banned in Victoria from May 2022.

Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson told the ABC the “cowardly” men and their views would not be tolerated in the town.

“To have people who were cowardly in their approach, to not show their faces and displaying symbols and slogans about white supremacy, really has no place in Ballarat,” he said.

Neo-Nazi protesters march down a Ballarat St. Picture: Twitter
Camera IconNeo-Nazi protesters march down a Ballarat St. Twitter Credit: NCA NewsWire

Mr Hudson said the town was on edge following the march and he had already received correspondence from worried members of the community.

“I had an email from a concerned member of our African community (who) said ‘How do I know? It could be my bank teller, it could be the person I buy coffee from’,” he said.

Mr Hudson also doubted the men were locals but rather chose the town to protest in due to the significance of the weekend.

“This group, whether they have targeted Ballarat because of Spilt Milk (music festival) or the 169th anniversary of Eureka … I doubt these people live in our community,” he said.

“I would suggest Ballarat has had a visit from these people, and now they will target other areas.”

Police follow the march as it heads out of the city centre. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconPolice follow the march as it heads out of the city centre. Supplied Credit: NCA NewsWire

Ballarat Community Alliance said they were aware of the protests and had demanded a swift response from police, adding that “neo-Nazis are not welcome”.

“We condemn this group of blow-ins and their message of hate,” the group said in a statement.

“We are a proud multicultural city and at the recent referendum were one of the biggest yes votes in regional Australia. We are a safe and inclusive city and we unequivocally condemn their presence in this city.”

For the march itself, police said they monitored the situation and understood marches of this type could upset people.

“Our top priority was keeping the peace to ensure the event did not impact the safety of the broader community,” a spokesperson said.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in our community regardless of who they are.

“We understand incidents of anti-Semitism can leave communities feeling targeted, threatened and vulnerable. Hate and prejudice has no place in our society.”

jordan.mccarthy@news.com.au | @JordoMc85

Originally published as ‘Cowardly’: Masked neo-Nazis slammed for Ballarat protest

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