NSW Premier Chris Minns has warned he is prepared to unmask people involved in the latest neo-Nazi gatherings in Sydney after police halted two demonstrations in less than 24 hours.
After police stopped a group of men wearing black clothing and balaclavas associated with the National Socialist Network on a train at North Sydney Station on Australia Day, police again broke up meetings of the far-right group at North Turramurra on Saturday evening and Artarmon on Sunday morning.
Premier Chris Minns labelled the group as “pathetic” and their behaviour as “fascist” and “ridiculous”.
“Those who are attempting to menace people in an anonymous way in NSW, the police have the ability to unmask you,” he said.
“So, in front of your family, your friends, your employers, your co-workers, you will be exposed as a massive racist.”
The Premier has said he would be open to strengthening laws against “White Power salutes”.
“We are looking at the laws and examining them to make sure that overt Nazi gestures and symbols are outlawed in New South Wales, and we’ll make sure that the people of New South Wales are safe and we protect the tenants of our multicultural, harmonious community,” he said.
It is the third day in a row that a group of masked men wearing all back have gathered in Sydney.
At North Turramurra on Sydney’s upper north shore on Saturday evening, the group’s leader Thomas Sewell was given a public safety order extension, banning him from several parts of Sydney until midnight on Sunday.
“Police have served a 31-year-old man with a Public Safety Order extension, prohibiting him from entering a number of local government areas in Sydney until midnight (on Sunday),” NSW Police said in a statement.
“The order extension was served (on Saturday) evening at North Turramurra.”
On Saturday night, police descended on North Turramurra where dozens of members of the neo-Nazi group were meeting.
One local witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the group began assembling around the local scout hall in the afternoon.
“There were a large number of young men in attendance, but also some young women, mostly wearing black clothing, and the scout hall was definitely open and ostensibly being used by the group,” the resident told NCA Newswire.
A large police presence was seen around the hall, including about 10 police cars.
— Denise Shrivell (@deniseshrivell) January 27, 2024
BREAKING LIVE: Them North Shore Neo Nazis are gathering at Artarmon Reserve right atm. With about a dozen police watching pic.twitter.com/odXJzyzHtb
— Finnigans (@Thefinnigans) January 27, 2024
In a separate incident on Sunday morning, there was a heavy police presence at Artarmon Reserve as the members group once again gathered in public.
Pictures from the scene showed police watching on as a group of black-clad men congregated at the suburban park.
NSW Police said on Sunday morning that a police operation had concluded with no arrests after the group moved on without incident.
Police, including officers from the Raptor Squad and Public Order and Riot Squad, were called out to the reserve after the group of approximately 30 men began to gather around 8.30am.
“The group ... was verbally served an updated Public Safety Order prohibiting them from entering further Sydney local government areas,” NSW Police said.
“The group dispersed and there were no arrests.”
Following the public incidents involving the National Socialist Network, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said he was “heartbroken and alarmed by the return of genocidal antisemitism”.
He said recent public displays of antisemitism should be a “source of shame” for society and were a “deep collective reflection on how little we have learned”.
“We are reminded that the desire to destroy the Jews has not diminished, only the means to carry this out has been temporarily suppressed,” Mr Ryvchin said.
“The audacity of anti-Semites in Australia, the freedom of mainstream online influencers, Neo-Nazi cells and supporters of jihadist terror to incite against our community with virtually no consequences, is particularly chilling.”
Police stormed North Sydney train station on Australia Day following reports a group of about 60 men were boarding a train into the city wearing balaclavas and all-black outfits.
The men are affiliated with the National Socialist Network, which is led by convicted criminal Thomas Sewell.
Police arrested six members of the group on Friday morning and issued 61 infringement notices for offensive behaviour. Two members have since been released without charge.
It follows the NSW government’s recent announcement that it will be conducting a review into section 93Z of the Crimes Act, which legislates laws against publicly threatening or inciting violence against someone based on the grounds of race, or religious belief or affiliation.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Saturday joined in the condemnation of the group’s behaviour.
He said he was “horrified” by the images.
“I don’t want to see people in balaclavas, dressed in black from head to toe, who are engaged in neo-Nazi activity in this country,” he said.
“It has no place and it has rightly been condemned by all decent people”.