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Wilders from the outside: ‘here comes Nazi scum’

As Geert Wilders spoke in Melbourne last night, protesters gathered outside — but it was less violent, and more ideological, than mainstream media reported. Crikey intern Michelle Slater was there.

As about 100 protesters gathered outside Geert Wilders’ speech in Melbourne last night, it was not so much a violent clash with police as a clash of political ideologies.

There were plenty of angry profanities being shouted through megaphones as people arrived to listen to the Dutch anti-Islam crusader speak at the Lebanese-owned La Mirage Convention Centre.

The location of the speech was kept secret to try to stop protesters gathering, but word got out through the magic of social media. Lifts were on offer from Roxburgh Park station to shuttle activists to the gig, which was in the treeless working-class suburb of Somerton, an industrial estate about 40 minutes’ drive north of the city.

A collection of self-righteous slogan-shouters from various left-wing activist groups like the Socialist Alternative, the United Struggle Project and Students For Palestine rallied out front.

Here comes Nazi scum!” they chanted. “Racism! No way! We’re gonna fight it all the way!”

Signs included “F-ck off we’re full — of wankers already”. Or “Fascism is not to be tolerated — It’s to be smashed.”

I attended the protest, talking to people — and I never felt threatened. In fact, I felt a jovial spirit of solidarity emanating from the left-wing comrades.

Ten mounted police guarded the venue’s high wrought-iron gates. The horses looked relaxed and stood sedately on loose reins. I gave one of them a pat.

About 60 cops formed a line to allow speech attendees to safely enter the venue by car. There was a police car to guide them into the turning lane.

One attendee — young, with a shaved head — entered the venue on foot. He gave the protesters the one-fingered salute. “Racist scum!” they yelled back.

A man from the Australian Defence League — an anti-Muslim group with 57 “likers” on Facebook — tried to infiltrate the protest and hold up a sign. His presence was not tolerated by the indignant crowd. “You’re just a crazy loon who talks bullshit about Islam,” one shouted in his face.

That’s racism. You’re a racist. You don’t want Muslims coming to this country,” shouted another. The bloke just stood there quietly.

Ben Coggins, a 31-year-old from Coburg, from Students For Palestine, was protesting against Wilders’ support of Israel, “which is committing acts of genocide against Palestinians and using a kind of Islamophobia to justify it”.

Another perspective was provided by protester Hillel Freedman, aged 41 from East Bentleigh: “I’m here as a Jewish person. This kind of thing compares to the same kind of thing Adolf Hitler said before he rose to power,” he told Crikey. “Hitler’s original intention was to [expatriate] Jews from Europe. I draw parallels to Geert Wilders, who wants to expat Muslims to back where they come from.”

The irony of some Arabic writing on the convention centre’s entry sign was not lost on Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councillor for Moreland City Council. “It’s no accident that the right-wing organise their meetings here in a working-class suburb with a high population of Muslims,” she said.

The crowd cheered when it was announced via megaphone that Wilders’ Perth speech (he’s touring the country) was cancelled and money would be refunded to ticket-holders.

After a couple hours of rallying, one of the organisers announced that everyone needed to leave in an organised manner so that “we don’t have to be here all night waiting for these f-ckers to come out”. Banners were rolled up, the activists left and the police horses moved elegantly away.

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  • 1
    Counterpoint
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Well, of course you didn’t feel threatened…..you said they were your comrades.

    I saw people being pushed over who had arrived to attend the speech.

    It will be interesting to see how many of the same people would turn up to a mosque where an Islamic figure might preach similar racial hatred - against westerners. Would they have the balls to stop other Muslims arriving to listen?

  • 2
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    What is it with the mainstream media - were they there or were they just stereotyping. I am equally pissed at the ABC for giving this clown an airing. The Jewish protester is right, Wilders’ rhetoric is exactly the same that that was used to demonise the Jews and it would seem that the reporting of anti Nazi rallies similarly. It is no longer on SBS but a Program ” Coppers” in a ” demonstration ” in Bolton was confronting. It was the attitude of the Police and their obvious stereotyping of the pro Muslim demonstrators reminded me of the way the police supported the Nazi Sympathisers marches on the East End of London led by Oswald Moseley.

  • 3
    Alex
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hard to reconcile “I never felt threatened. In fact, I felt a jovial spirit of solidarity emanating from the left-wing comrades.” with ““That’s racism. You’re a racist. You don’t want Muslims coming to this country,” shouted another. The bloke just stood there quietly.”.

    I’m sure that the outside was only welcoming to whatever brand of crazy-lefties who were the majority out there, just as Hussein’s report on the inside showed it to be welcoming only to the brand of crazy-righties who were the majority in there.

  • 4
    Andybob
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    An interesting and informative piece, thankyou Michelle for controlling yourself and not getting all shock horror on us. Unlike some I could mention ….

  • 5
    Monash.edu
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Right-wingers holding meetings? Whatever will we do?

  • 6
    ianjohnno
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    One thing that bemuses me is the constant use of the word, racist.
    Religionism or culturalism perhaps but, to me, using racist is like pointing at the mangoes and proclaiming the tomatos substandard.

  • 7
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Wilders has opted for the wrong audience. He fails to understand the all-encompassing apathy of Australians (unless they’re relating to sport). If he manages to generate any more than minimal support I’ll be surprised.

    Besides, in the interests of fairness, if we let clowns like M0nckton off the leash then every jerk should be given a turn.

  • 8
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Free speech is exactly that..free speech.

    You have the option in a functioning democracy of ignoring any view that offends you.

    However, the 4th estate won’t let you…they’ll fan the flames of public unrest in search of a 6pm headline.

    This is a storm in a teacup…just like the H R Nichols group..

  • 9
    Douglas and Milko
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    tonyfunnywalker: Yep, as a keen observer of history for my whole life, you and the Jewish protester have summed it up beautifully. There is a saying, that those who do not understand history are compelled to live it again and again (well maybe that is the colloquial version). Unfortunately, those of us who do understand history are also compelled to live it again and again. Of course, it will never be exactly the same history - there will be enough differences for the purveyors of the present prejudice to explain why this is different to (and righteous compared to) what happened before. But the essentials will be the same. Undermining of democracy, liberty, and a denial of education, jobs and livelihood to those who the currently powerful demonise.

  • 10
    Patriot
    Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Wilders’ PVV party is more popular and won more seats in the Netherlands than our Greensparty here in Australia, and obviously more than all the loony socialist/communist parties combined. Goes to show who the fringe dwelling nuts really are.

  • 11
    Charles Edwards
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Four of the five freedoms of Australians: freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly - rent-a-mob was trying to deny the delegates to the talk their rights as Australian citizens. They did so by hassling, jostling and in one case pushing to the ground these delegates. They were hurling the old debate-killer “racist” - exactly what race was the meeting against? Tell me? I don’t get it. The fifth freedom of course is freedom of religion. Now some would claim that those attending the meeting are trying to prevent certain persons in the population from practising their religion. Actually that isn’t the case. What they want is to stop them from stopping the rest of us from practising our religions at some point in the future, which is what adherents of Islam are commanded to do. Witness the killing, persecution or forced conversion of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the burning of Christians in Nigeria, the tax imposed on non-believers in other Islamic countries. Wilders is right, it is more than just a religion, it is a way of life, with its own code of behaviour, its own laws and cultural practices quite diametrically opposed to those of western countries, and an overarching desire to see all countries operating in the same way. Leaders of the Islamic faith in many countries have been quite open about this determination to bring this about. Western politicians have their fingers in their ears and singing na-na-na-nah-nah. Wilders is just bringing this to the attention of Australians who are not yet aware that this is starting to happen in Europe which is quite some way down the track compared to Australia. All he’s doing is telling it like it is. He has every right to do this as an invited guest to our country. And we have every right to listen, take it on board or reject it as we wish. We have that freedom. I think it’s telling that our politicians and media are singing from the same hymn-sheet in trying to vilify and ridicule him and in some cases aid the prevention of him carrying out his mission. They are attempting to remove our freedom already fearing reprisals from adherents of this faith. So you see, it’s started already. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • 12
    Barry Levy
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Now the author knows how it must feel for Jews who for decades - maybe generations - have been accused of a similar conspiracy to take over the world, and with far less numbers than Muslims — 12-14 million vs one and a half billion!

    There are a fair number of Muslim countries, too, that Jews are not even allowed to visit.

  • 13
    Jay Powell
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Ben Coggins, a 31-year-old from Coburg, from Students For Palestine, was protesting against Wilders’ support of Israel, “which is committing acts of genocide against Palestinians and using a kind of Islamophobia to justify it””

    A 31-year-old from ‘STUDENTS for Palestine’ misuses the word ‘genocide’ and actually (seemingly without irony) uses “Islamophobia”. These are the kind of people that try and stop me getting to my bus when I’m late.

  • 14
    Talal Kayal
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Charles Edwards
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 12:05 am”

    I’ll let you in on some secrets, considering you don’t seem to be educated enough in Australian Constitutional law.

    1. We don’t have freedom of speech here. We only have an implied right to freedom of political speech.

    2. you don’t have the “right” for freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. Thats based on Australian law, Might do you some good to learn some of your own laws.

    As for the rest of the garbage you dribbled, Europe has a history of blaming it’s woes on minorities and having genocidal pogroms against them.

    Wilders is the Julius Steicher of our time. while he may not explicitly say he wan’t violence again’st muslims, neither did Stiecher. But we all know how damaging his words were to the Jews. And everything you wrote about islam an mulsims is wrong, but I don’t have 2 hours to write an essay making you look like an even bigger fool.

  • 15
    Talal Kayal
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    thats Streicher sorry

  • 16
    edward bowker
    Posted Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    As an Australian born & bread i despair for the type of people who are called protesters at this meeting for Geert Wilders.These protesters obviously do notconsider that the infiltration ofIslamic Law and their principles will have devastating effects on our wonderful society.These people remind me of Emus.

  • 17
    Michael Cirone
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I was there to attend the speech and was pushed around by the protesters. I wonder if you experienced the same trial at the entrance or instead you had a special pass.
    I wonder also if Jasmine Ali protest organised is just a socialist supporting the freedom of Islam or is instead a muslim supporting the freedom of Sharia aimed to curb the freedom of true Judeo-Christians and western democracy.
    I have been a social-democrat for many years but Tuesday evening I realised the gradual transition to a better human free market is unlikely to happen as not all parties are ready for a peaceful coexistence and sincere reciprocity of rights and freedom in democracy.
    I do not believe Islam is available to address the issue of persecution of Christians in its own traditional land and the over 1Million martyrs in the last decade will be left without mourning by the islamists and even by the undercover “Socialist” cocktails of Muslim and syncretistic pseudo-Chrystians.
    If Israel was at risk of extinction is now clear to me that all these protesters + cocktails + undercover theocrats would not shed a tear.
    The truth of Islam is written in its book and Sharia and therefore I do not even need to wait to be confirmed of the real cocktail agenda waiting in the incubator for the West, but one thing I can assure to the “Positivist Socialists”: if Islam succeed and Sharia will be implemented [in partnership with the Syncretistic Christians] there will not be any degree of marxism tolerated.
    Muslim scholars and Islamist have got only one way to prevent the big headaches to come: try to reform Islam and abrogate Sharia - if by miracle this is possible - and realise the eternal covenant of YHWH with Israel.

  • 18
    bad_paladin
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I am amazed by the stupidity and ignorance of the left-wing extremists in this country. I feel compelled to point out a few things.

    1. It’s not racist to hate Islam. We’re not talking about race, it’s a religion and ideology, fools.

    2. To compare this to anti-semitism is ridiculous. The islamic threat is real, not imagined. Just watch the news every day for proof of that.

    3. What Geert Wilders says about Islam is actually true. As somebody who has studied history and religion, I can tell you that his descriptions of Islam and Mohammed are spot on. He is only telling the truth.

    4. Obviously most of these Extreme Left-Wingers don’t know anything about Islam. They are defending an oppressive, misogynistic, totalitarian ideology, while turning against their own countrymen. They obviously don’t believe in freedom of speech or equality or human-rights, because Islam does not tolerate those things.

    What hope is there for this country when our own people are intent on committing cultural suicide?

    My advice to Left-Wing Extremists? Read some books, learn some history. Learn the truth about Islam first, then see if you still want to defend it.

  • 19
    Michael Cirone
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Agree with “paladin” - Western Society comes from totalitarian theocracies at war on each other. The event of the Mayflower was a miracle - assisted by the Dutch - and slowly it made possible to incorporate Judeo-Christian theocracy in the value of Grace and Freedom of Conscience in line with the NT and the Gospel. The French Revolution struggled to achieve the democratic outcome that gradually emerged from a moral majority in America.
    The mature result of this new way of life got back to Europe with the IIWW and pushed the West to an high degree of knowledge and power. The West in the meantime exaggerated with Secularism and Free Market almost to a degree of a radical deregulation.
    Islam and Socialism/Communism are not pleased with the West and use all ethical weaknesses and shortcomings to reinforce their presence in the West and aiming to a totalitarian regime which Socialism by itself cannot anymore pursue.
    China and Russia are not less plutocratic than the West, therefore I can see why the “Socialists” support Islam and hope to find a partnerships of power under the cause of Islam. Sharia nevertheless doesn’t look much promising for the positivistic ideology of Marxism and Socialism. Judeo-Christianity failed to promote and implement a global ethics in economy and lost lots of its energy in compromising with the secular world and Mammon. Now we have got issues to resolve and reply to Islam… but the West and genuine Judeo-Christianity cannot accept Sharia and further harassment killing and persecution from Islam outside and now inside our own Western borders.

  • 20
    Michael Cirone
    Posted Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    The following relates to all true Western Citizens with a valid passport.

    Five Fundamental Freedoms
    http://www.immi.gov.au

    All Australians are entitled to freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion, and movement.

    Freedom of speech

    Australians are free, within the bounds of the law, to say or write what we think privately or publicly, about the government, or about any topic. We do not censor the media and may criticise the government without fear of arrest. Free speech comes from facts, not rumours, and the intention must be constructive, not to do harm. There are laws to protect a person’s good name and integrity against false information. There are laws against saying or writing things to incite hatred against others because of their culture, ethnicity or background. Freedom of speech is not an excuse to harm others.

    Freedom of association

    We are free to join any organisation or group if it is legal. We can choose to belong to a trade union or to a political party. Having and debating points of view allows for a healthy and strong democracy.

    Freedom of assembly

    We are free to meet with other people in public or private places. We can meet in small or large groups for legal social or political purposes. Being able to protest and to demonstrate is an accepted form of free expression. Protestors must not be violent or break laws such as assaulting others or trespassing on private or public property. People can change governments in a peaceful way by elections and not by violence.

    Freedom of religion

    Australia does not have an official or state religion. The law does not enforce any religious doctrine, however, religious practices must conform to the law. We are free to follow any religion we choose. We are also free not to have a religion.

    Freedom of movement

    We can move freely to and from all states and territories. We can leave and return to Australia at any time. Some migrants may have conditions placed on their visa until they become Australian citizens.

  • 21
    Raymond gowers
    Posted Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Muslims have expressed Jew hatred since the time of Mohamed (The Koran). It didn’t start with the birth of Israel. Those who compare Wilders with Nazism are wrong. It’s the totalitariansim of Islam that is a danger to the Jews who are already leaving Europe according to some reports.

  • 22
    In Fidel
    Posted Monday, 25 February 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    How silly this comparison to the treatment of jews in Europe.

    They were a very small minority, and did not demand to impose a jewish style sharia, or want to spread Judaism all over the world.
    In short, jews in Europe did not pose a demographic threat compared to 1.5 billion muslims.
    For those that argue that muslims are a small minority, it should be considered that this is subject to change over time. Why was an extremist Sydney cleric who was due to be deported, allowed to remain by the then Labour Pary?
    It had to do with votes in the Sydney region.

    And Gert Wilders does not have a fascist style private militia to intimidate oponents.

    Does it make someone a racist or bigot for giving a reasoned condemnation of christianity?
    That would make all atheists racists.

    Why is it that those who condemn Wilders, can’t point out the errors in Wilders’s comments? Can anyone take up his comments on the Quaran vs Mein Kampf, the Prophet and tell us if true or false? Shouldn’t this be the way to discredit Wilders?

    It seems not.

    The critics of Wilders are great with ad hominems, but short of reasons.

    No religion or ideology should be beyond scrutiny.

    Geert Wilders is going through a similar experience that the 19th century free thinkers went through when blasphemy laws were in effect through Europe and the UK. They also were muzzled and had venues closed to them, and persecuted by the authorities.

  • 23
    In Fidel
    Posted Monday, 25 February 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Talal Kayal,

    I’ll let you in on some secrets, considering you don’t seem to be educated enough in Australian Constitutional law.

    1. We don’t have freedom of speech here. We only have an implied right to freedom of political speech.”

    In this patronising comment to Charles Edwards, are you suggesting that you don’t believe in free speech and association? But the thugs jostling and blocking the entrance, spitting, throwing a man to the ground, preventing him from entering, have the right and freedom to do so?

    And everything you wrote about islam an mulsims is wrong, but I don’t have 2 hours to write an essay making you look like an even bigger fool”

    But when it comes to the important bits, you don’t even have the time for a few words, where refutation is sorely needed? Just insults, and ad hominem fallacy is not an argument. Maybe you could learn something too, apart from hostile arrogance.

    Calling someone a fool and running away without refuting him, may make others wonder who is the real fool. Needing two hours seems to be just an excuse.
    But you need not tell me that I’m a fool. I already know that, because disagreeing with you makes me one.

  • 24
    Mildred Humphrey
    Posted Wednesday, 27 February 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Please tell me these same protesters will be at Australia’s largest Islamic conference to date in Melbourne next month. Some of the most hate filled, racists ever seen in Australia are flying in especially to attend…

  • 25
    Mildred Humphrey
    Posted Wednesday, 27 February 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Charles, you are spot on.

  • 26
    Erin Lee
    Posted Saturday, 2 March 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the right-wing crackpots have taken over the discussion in the comments. Cant wait to send all those evil scheming muslims to the smokestacks, huh? You would fit in well with the Dutch these days. Why dont you move over there?

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