The premier of Australia's Victoria state condemned on Sunday Nazi salutes at a protest in the state capital Melbourne as an attempt "to scapegoat minorities" using "evil ideology".
According to a report from the Guardian on the matter, the federal Australian government will move to ban the Nazi salute within months, following the incident.
Transgender rights protesters clashed with neo-Nazis in Melbourne on Saturday after a British anti-transgender activist sought to address supporters at the city's parliament building, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
On Sunday, The Australian newspaper posted to Twitter an image of several men dressed in black performing a Nazi salute outside the parliament.
Demonstrators have raised their arms in a Nazi salute as hundreds of people clashed over an anti-trans activist on Saturday.https://t.co/2zdxC1hFsp— The Australian (@australian) March 19, 2023
Anti-transgender activists 'gathered to spread hate'
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said the anti-transgender activists had "gathered to spread hate" in the city.
"On the steps of our parliament, some of them performed a Nazi salute. They were there to say the trans community don't deserve rights, safety or dignity," Andrews said on Twitter.
I won't share a photo because they simply don't deserve the attention.But yesterday, anti-trans activists gathered to spread hate. And on the steps of our Parliament, some of them performed a Nazi salute.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) March 19, 2023
"That's what Nazis do. Their evil ideology is to scapegoat minorities - and it's got no place here. And those who stand with them don't, either."
Police told Reuters there were around 300 protestors in total, with around 15 "possibly belonging to right-wing groups".
Victoria in December passed laws criminalizing the public display of Nazi symbols in what the center-left Labor state government said was a move to stamp out antisemitism and hate.
The director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), Jeremy Jones said on Monday that these types of behavior are "an appalling sight – and one for which there must be consequences and effective action.”
“Even though they are few in number and have no political or social influence, the thugs and miscreants who made the Nazi salute did so to intimidate, bully and challenge the intrinsic values of our liberal democracy”, Jones, who has researched and written on the far-right for more than 30 years, said.
“In their case, hatred and anger come before any political considerations, but they have chosen to append themselves to a particularly vile and evil ideology, as they feel this will cause the most upset and uproar,” he added.“AIJAC welcomes the announcement by Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes that her government, after due consultation, will now seek to legislate a ban on the public display of the Nazi salute.“Unless and until there are consequences for their actions, we can expect neo-Nazis to become more brazen, which is both a sobering reality and a reason to act expeditiously,” Jones concluded.
In November, a soccer fan who gave a Nazi salute at the Australia Cup final in Sydney, the capital of neighboring New South Wales state, was banned for life from any games sanctioned by Football Australia (FA).
The behavior of the fan was described as "absolutely horrendous" by New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet.