NEO-nazi thugs burned crosses in Australia amid fears that the country could suffer a ‘Christchurch-style’ attack by racist fanatics.
Hikers came across a group of 30 extremists who claimed to be the Ku Klux Klan on Australia Day in western Victoria.
The barechested gang were seen performing nazi salutes and chanting “white power” as they burned the cross in Grampians National Park.
The group’s vile behaviour has sparked concern for civil rights activist, Dr Dvir Abramovich, who is calling for neo-Nazi groups to be added to the list of terrorist organisations.
Speaking to The Age, Dr Abramovich said: “We do not need to wait for another Christchurch [terror attack] in Melbourne to act.”
In March 2019, Brenton Tarrant, a 31-year-old Australian terrorist, stormed two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and killed 51 people.
He targeted Muslim communities, opening fire at Al Noor and Linwood mosque.
FAR RIGHT HATRED
He has now been sentenced to life in prison without parole for his atrocious crimes, admitting to the murder of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people and one charge of terrorism.
Dr Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, told The Age that the cross-burning event should have sparked greater state and police responses.
He continued: “Who would have thought in 2021 Australia, in a week in which we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the modern face of Hitler would reveal itself in our state without consequence?”
“This group and others are creating an echo chamber and incubator on the net, taking full advantage of their virtual audience to feed and amplify their vitriolic fantasies about an Aryan Australia, without Jews, Muslims, Aboriginals, the disabled, immigrants, members of the LGBTQI community and anyone else they deem ‘inferior’,” the activist said.
“I call on our state and federal governments to lead the fight against the growing problem of racially based extremism by candidly characterising it and advocating that these groups be added to the terror list.”
Nate Hart, an avid hiker said he was walking with a friend when he passed the group gathered in a cave singing ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
As it was Australia Day, the popular patriotic song wasn’t too unusual, but it was when he spotted a member “proudly throw up the Sieg Heil”.
He noticed the men were wearing black shirts with the Celtic Cross – a symbol often used by white supremacists.
Who would have thought in 2021 Australia, in a week in which we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the modern face of Hitler would reveal itself in our state without consequence?
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission
“Power of the white man,” one of the group was heard shouting.
“It was clear we were in the presence of a group of actual fascists, indeed Nazis, out for a training camp and bonding exercise,” he said.
“Young blokes coming together over their shared hatred of others.”
“They looked like Nazis from a Hitler movie,’ a cafe owner said. ‘And they were.”
Another witness told The Age that the group declared they were “Ku Klux Klan members”.
Someone else heard the group drunkenly chanting racist slogans while camping illegally at Lake Bellfield – an idyllic spot with panoramic views of the national park.
Another man, known only as James said he was greeted with a Nazi salute as he rode his bike through Halls Gap.
“There were 40 white males, many with skinheads, some chanting ‘white power’. That is intimidating for anyone, let alone the young Asian families sharing the barbecue space,” he said.
It was clear we were in the presence of a group of actual fascists, indeed Nazis, out for a training camp and bonding exercise. Young blokes coming together over their shared hatred of others.
Nate Hart, hiker
Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia that it monitors the behaviour of far-right groups closely.
“Victoria Police works closely with its state and Federal partners and our Joint Counter Terrorist Team has undertaken a number of investigations covering extremism,” a spokeswoman said.
“We encourage anyone who has been a victim of a prejudice-related crime to reach out to police for assistance.
“Every Victorian has the right to feel safe and secure in the community and in pursuing their values, beliefs and interests.”
The far-right group were also condemned by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, though he refused to be drawn on individual matters.
Speaking on Thursday, he said: “I would make the point as well, that many would argue, and the international evidence is very clear, and indeed the local evidence, that anti-Semitism is on the rise.
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“There is no place for that kind of anti-Semitism in our state, there is no place for that sort of bigotry and hatred. There is no place for violence.
“It’s an evil thing, it’s a wicked thing, and I just take this opportunity to send a message to the Jewish community across Melbourne and Victoria, you have and continue to make a profound contribution to our state.”
Police are currently investigating.