Arrests over alleged Nazi salutes at Jewish museum

Perth's Jewish community unites in support

Three men have been arrested after an alarming incident at Sydney’s Jewish Museum on Friday.

NSW Police were called to Darlinghurst Road in Darlinghurst shortly before midday on Friday amid reports the trio were allegedly performing Nazi salutes outside the building.

Officers apparently flooded the area, searching a vehicle and detaining the three men. Local roads were also closed.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said he was extremely concerned by the incident.

“Those people are in custody and there is no place for that in NSW,” he said.

“I expect, and so do NSW Police, the full extent of the law will be applied to those people.”

The arrests came as police sought to use “extraordinary” powers to search and hold protesters ahead of a planned pro-Palestine rally in Sydney on Sunday.

The demonstration is just one of several planned for coming days, with gatherings expected in Canberra, Perth and Brisbane on Friday, and more in Melbourne and Adelaide at the weekend.

The Pro-Palestine rallies erupted after Israel launched retaliatory strikes following the deaths of more than 1000 people at the hands of Hamas militants. Some Israelis and foreigners were also taken hostage.

There were wild scenes in Sydney on Monday night, when some protesters chanted anti-Jewish slurs and set off flares at the Opera House, sparking condemnation from state and federal politicians and Jewish community groups.

On Friday, NSW Police urged people not to attend Sunday’s rally in Hyde Park, which organisers moved from Town Hall and have promised will be a peaceful gathering.

Acting Commissioner Dave Hudson said police had requested authorisation to use special powers to search people and demand their identities.

“I urge people considering entering the city to reconsider,” he said.

“We are worried that a potentially violent protest will infringe upon the free movement of people who are here with their families to enjoy what hopefully will be a pleasant day within the city.”

Police seek power to search at Sydney protest

Hudson said he “personally believes” NSW had reached the threshold to give police increased searching powers and the ability to demand proof of identity at Sunday’s marches.

“We’re getting [legal] advice of that. But I expect to know by tomorrow whether these powers will be available to us. Just because they’re available to us does not necessarily mean they have to be used, and we will not be using the full extent of the powers, which can lock the city down,” he said.

The powers being considered include making anyone at Sunday’s demonstration subject to being searched “where [police] don’t need reasonable cause”.

“We will also be demanding that they provide us with their identity and if they fail to do so it is an offence these are extraordinary powers,” Hudson said.

The special powers were initiated after the 2005 Cronulla riots, and have been used on some occasions since.

Hudson said there were peaceful alternatives for people to voice their opinions on the conflict in Israel.

“The experience from Monday, and the admitted inability by the organisers of the event, who have come out and said they can’t control who attends apart from them, causes us great concern,” he said.

“People do have a right to protest, but there are responsibilities that come with it and that’s to hold it in a peaceful manner, which is not the behaviour we saw on Monday.”

A significant police presence is expected in Sydney’s city centre and across the wider city on Sunday.

Minns said NSW residents had a right to protest, but he backed police in their “difficult job”.

“While [people] have a right to protest, everyone has a right to be free from racial vilification, incitement to violence, actual violence, racism in the streets. We have a very clear and long-standing laws that have been in place in NSW – and I want to make it clear that they will be in force,” he said.

“Given the experience that we all saw on Monday evening, clearly the NSW Police have to take steps to prevent violence, to prevent civic disorder, to prevent incitement to violence.”

In Queensland, police are confident a protest in Brisbane’s King George Square from 6pm on Friday will run smoothly but have warned violence will not be tolerated.

The force has liaised this week with Islamic community groups and the Israeli Jewish community and increased patrols around places of worship.

Queensland Assistant Commissioner Brian Connors asked the hundreds of protesters expected at Friday’s rally to be respectful and obey instructions from police.

“If we believe that people are behaving in a manner that threatens community safety, offends or incites violence, we will be swift and decisive,” he said.

“We have sufficient resources attending the event, and also on standby, to make sure that we can guarantee community safety in and around the CBD.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said some of the chants during the rally in Sydney on Monday night were unacceptable.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in this country, nor does Islamophobia, nor does racism,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program on Friday.

“When people break the law, police should take action.”

On Thursday, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general Mike Burgess warned people making public statements about the protests to “consider the implications for social cohesion”.

Also on Friday night, a few hundred people are expected at a rally in Canberra’s Garema Place. Another rally is planned for Perth’s Murray Street Mall.

– with AAP

Topics: Gaza, Israel
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.