just returned home after spending six hours watching the disgusting
afternoon unfold at Cronulla beach. I’m sending this to anyone that’ll
I’d seen media reports in the lead up to today’s
“showdown,” and never believed it was actually going to happen. In
particular I noticed on page three of Saturday’s Herald “A
lesson in beach etiquette, Shire-style” which featured a guy named
Shaun – pictured with his Aussie flag singlet, tattoos all over him and
holding a long-neck of beer in a paper bag.
Shaun dislikes visitors he
says are rude. “They look down on our women,” he says. I’d never seen
anyone like that at Cronulla beach and thought the paper had
exaggerated the facts about how locals felt and what they were planning
to do. I was wrong. Cronulla today was filled with loud, pis*ed, Shaun
doppelgangers, all of them looking for a fight.
When I arrived
at Cronulla at about midday the crowd was fairly calm, rowdy and
yobbo-ish, though not violent. The drinking had already started, there
were BBQs being cooked in the back of utes, John Williamson music was
blaring from car stereos and the “Wall” at North Cronulla was a sea of
Australian flags, Eureka Stockade flags and boxing kangaroos. Political
correctness had already been thrown aside, with some of the guys there
screaming “f*ck off Lebs” (there wasn’t a ‘Leb’ to be seen) and
“reclaim the shire,” and with comments like “we grew here, you flew
here” and “Save Nulla, F*ck Allah” painted on their chests.
was most unbelievable, even more so than the overt racism, was the
number of people there… There were thousands and thousands of people. It was like the harbour foreshore on New Year’s
Eve or Australia Day. Roads had been closed and the empty space created
was filled thick with people. It wasn’t just twenty-something males
there, there were groups of girls and women, packs of teenagers, entire
families (I just cannot understand anyone taking their kids to
participate in something like this), bikies, neo-nazis and surfers.
saw a group of three well-dressed 40-ish women drinking Breezers
standing atop a retaining wall chanting at the police. I saw a group of
four teenage girls (typical tanned ‘Northies’ Shire-girls – long hair,
short skirts and massive sunglasses) being interviewed by ABC radio
with ‘Multiculturalism Doesn’t Work’ stickers on their backs. I saw a
fifty-year-old man wearing an ‘Osama Don’t Surf’ t-shirt. I’ve never seen
that many people in Cronulla before.
About ten minutes after I
got there I called a mate of mine to come down and see what was
actually happening before me – I seemed to be the only person who was
horrified about what was occurring. While I was on the phone I saw a
young Middle Eastern Australian kid walk through the carpark, about ten
metres away from me. I’d seen this kid on the news earlier this week
defending his right to swim at his local beach.
It wasn’t long before
he was being screamed at (“Leb c*nt”, “Get off our beach” etc) and
surrounded by a group of flag draped p*ssed idiots. The kid screamed
back, fairly insistent on getting to the beach, for all of about ten
seconds before he was hit by one of them and had to turn and run across
the park toward Northies.
The crowd of people up the slope to the Wall had noticed what was
happening and all of a sudden it was on. The mob chased this kid into
Northies, straight through the traffic which was brought to a sudden
standstill with the now thousands of people surrounding the entry to
Northies. Imagine a group of thousands of people, and I really do mean
thousands of people, all chasing one kid into a pub and then standing
outside screaming the most hateful and violent trash talk, throwing
bottles, jumping on cars containing children that were stuck in the
The kid they were after was about 17 and would weigh in at a
huge 60kg. I could not believe my eyes that a lynching like this could
happen anywhere, let alone Cronulla beach.
was a group of people that were thinking and moving as one, a true
“mob.” Reason disappeared and the violently racist slurs and the
bizarre form of patriotism got worse. Waltzing Matilda was
being screamed like a war cry into the faces of police and Northies
security guards. The crowd was still on the street, stretching across
the the Wall, but would move up the Kingsway or down Eleoura Rd a bit
if they thought there was a Leb to get.
We saw a group of three
“wogs,” two girls and a guy, all early twenties, walking along the
lower walkway of the Wall. The fact they’d managed to get that far
surprised me, but they didn’t catch the attention of the mob until they
got very near the end of the Wall, about 20 metres from where the path
met the crowd. The abuse started, and then the crowd started to move
toward them. Thankfully there were a group of police close by who were
able to get them out safely, but it didn’t stop the crowd following
them out, screaming in an absolute frenzy.
This was a crowd where
almost every member was involved – there were hardly any onlookers like
my mates and myself, everyone was into it. I watched the ABC news
tonight and the reporter was asked whether locals were approving of
what had happened – he said the ones that were there were, though local
talkback callers through the day were appalled, he said.
wasn’t too long before a rumour started spreading that a train full of
Lebs was on its way to Cronulla (it was like an insane game of Chinese
Whispers, there were stories going through the crowd that Tom Ugly’s
and Captain Cook Bridge had been closed, that the Bra Boys had arrived
and that the kiosk at North Cronulla was under siege because it was
owned by Wogs), so everyone was off to the station, via Cronulla Mall.
I can only imagine what it would have been like as a bystander in the
Mall with these idiots running through. By the time we got there,
teenagers were on the ground with pepper spray in their eyes, there
were Nazis up trees unfurling flags, more bottles being smashed and not
a train full of Lebs to be seen. Riot cops ended up pushing them all
back until they were forced to return to North Cronulla.
irony of the situation didn’t seem to be sinking into anyone’s head
either. This all started last weekend when two lifeguards were
bashed by a Lebanese group of guys who apparently are aggressive, rude
and disrespect our women. Talkback radio has been filled all week with
locals calling in and saying so. I agreed with a lot of it, I’d seen
these guys before and I’d been intimidated by them. But what I saw
today was far scarier than the Leb guys could ever be. Behaviour far
more more aggressive than any ethnic I’ve ever seen. Rudeness?
Nando’s had to be closed by police because two ethnic guys were eating
their lunch at a table inside when part of the mob arrived to scream at
them for doing so. Over the road at Macca’s there were drunk guys on
the corner screaming the foulest of language down the mall. These are
guys and girls preventing ambulances from leaving.
This is a
group of people happy to smash glass bottles in their own beach sand! I
saw a group of guys trying to get their footy out of one of the Norfolk
Pines by throwing beer bottles at it. As for “respecting our women”…
where’s the respect in surrounding a teenage girl (Anglo and alone) and
harassing her from one end of the Wall to the other?
And I just got
this off the Herald’s coverage: “He could not comment on a
report that a girl of Middle Eastern appearance had been pushed over
and was kicked repeatedly as she lay on the ground.” What the hell?!?
The behaviour today by the locals involved and all those with them was
far worse than any previous incident at Cronulla caused by a so-called
ethnic outsider visiting the area.
There were clearly a lot of
non-locals involved. I think that once the text message story got into
the media it became a city-wide talking point and made the numbers
present today worse, attracting people who were either just racist or
just wanted a brawl. The sight of surfers and Romper-Stomper-like
neo-Nazis running together towards the next hopeful brawl is not one
I’ll quickly forget.
But many locals were involved, and for the most part loving every
minute of it. There were plenty of units and apartments decked out in
Aussie flags with parties overflowing into the streets, proud to be a
part of what was just a disgusting day. How so many people could be
getting pleasure from this was just impossible to comprehend. It was
part machismo bullsh*t and part mob-mentality but it was mainly just
ugly racism. It no longer had anything at all to do with two lifeguards
getting beaten up last weekend, it was all just hatred towards a group
of people who weren’t even there.
sight of the Australian flag being over-used like it was today was
embarrassing. Watching that crowd of thousands chase a single
17-year-old was sickening. And to watch watch so many people think that
what they were doing was a good idea was just staggering.
It was the most shameful thing I’ve ever seen, no matter what happens next.