Melbourne went into meltdown today as hundreds of anti-racist activists countered a small Donald Trump celebration rally as the city reached a sweltering 31 degrees.
More than 100 police on horses, bikes and on the ground were ready by 11am, prepared for clashes between the left and right-wing groups.
The Donald Trump celebration event was for “like minded patriots and Trump advocates” to “discuss their opinions without being judged,” the rally’s Facebook event said.
Police blocked off the intersection of Bourke St and Spring St outside Parliament House by 11am as left-wing protesters began flowing in. The counter-rally to the Trump celebration event, organised by groups Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, and No Room for Racism, aimed to show how Melbourne “rejects racism, fascism, and sexual assault”.
By 1pm, left-wing newspapers with front covers such as ‘How could this monster win?’ were circulating as anti-racist and anti-fascist groups chanted, “Racist, sexist, anti-queer. Fascists are not welcome here”.
One American held up a sign that said, “Trump will never speak for me”.
The left-wing groups marched through Melbourne, chanting various anti-Trump phrases as city goers watched on, avoiding the protesters.
At around 2pm, right-wing activists began speaking to Trump supporters, of which there was no more than 50, despite a Facebook event, organised independently with support from right-wing groups The True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front, indicating more than 800 people would attend.
Tom, who insisted to The Newsroom his last name not be published, told Trump supporters that the president-elect’s win was a victory for Americans.
“He loves his country just as we love ours,” he said.
“It’s when the average, everyday people (sic) stand up and say ‘I want what’s best for my kids and I want what’s best for the future and I don’t care if you call me a racist, we don’t care anymore’ and that’s why we’re here,” he said.
Gallery: Donald Trump supporters v left-wing activists
Meanwhile, left-wing groups were chanting “You’ll always lose in Melbourne”, but their voices could scarcely be heard by Trump supporters, more than 150m away.
Cool air flowing out from The Hotel Windsor on Spring St did little to ease tension between the rival groups. Chris Di Pasquale, one of the organisers of the counter-rally, said he opposes the president-elect’s win.
“We don’t respect the right of this guy Trump to spout hate speech, to incite islamophobia, sexism and so on,” he told The Newsroom.
A left-wing speaker mocked the small turnout of Trump supporters, with left-wing activists laughing.
At around 2.45pm, Trump supporters ended their celebrations and United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell encouraged fans to go outside the city if they wanted a beer, to avoid running into opposing groups. – Matthew Male
Photos by Matthew Male