Two arrested after LGBT group attacked by ‘mob’ outside Sydney church
Two men have been arrested after a mob clashed with LGBT activists outside a church in Sydney, local police have said.
The LGBT group Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) held a protest outside St Michael’s Church Hall in the southwestern Sydney suburb of Belfield on Tuesday evening.
In footage shared by CARR on social media, counterprotesters can be seen surrounding the group as the police attempted to contain the incident.
The group then said they were attacked with glass bottles and rocks while local police officers added that a 38-year-old man was pushed to the ground and assaulted during the clashes.
New South Wales Police superintendent Sheridan Waldau said CARR was set on by a large “mob” which resulted in two men, aged 34 and 41, being arrested and charged with encouraging the commission of crimes and common assault respectively.
CARR staged the protest ahead of a planned speech by One Nation party politician Mark Latham, Channel 9 reports.
CARR said in a statement on Facebook: “Tonight hundreds of violent far right thugs attacked a small peaceful speak out of LGBTI+ activists with glass bottles, rocks and their fists.
“Several people were punched in the face multiple times and hit with rocks and bottles as they were surrounded by a mob 30 times their size.
“This is a disgusting and violent escalation by the anti-LGBTI+ far-right protesters who recently marched through Newtown in protest against World Pride.”
Ms Waldau said that she expects further arrests on Wednesday as the force reviews the footage from the incident.
Mr Latham said that the protest was not organised by himself or the One Nation party. He also condemned the violence.
He added that his speech was to talk about important issues ahead of the state election on Saturday and has campaigned on policies such as banning transgender education in schools.
Tuesday’s incident follows after clashes outside the Victoria state parliament building in Melbourne between rival protest groups at a “Let Woman Speak” event.