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Melbourne's Australia Day protests turn ugly as two men are detained

Melbourne’s ‘Invasion Day’ protests turn violent AGAIN as far-right protesters wearing ‘Proud Boys’ shirts and decked out in Aussie flag capes clash with those who want Australia Day abolished

  • Huge protests took place in Melbourne on Australia Day with counter demonstrations clashing with cops
  • ‘Invasion Day’ rally saw thousands turn out to passionately protest the treatment of Indigenous Australians 
  • A counter-protest saw locals covered in Australian flag paraphernalia also marching the city’s streets
  • One man declared himself a supporter of Proud Boys – an alt-right group associated with the US Capitol riot 
  • He clashed with Invasion Day protesters and was dragged away by police after sparking controversy 

An ‘Invasion Day’ protest in Melbourne turned ugly after a man donning a ‘Proud Boys’ t-shirt and Australian flag cape clashed with furious protesters – before being dragged out of the city in handcuffs.

Thousands of protesters congregated outside parliament on Spring Street on Tuesday for a socially distanced march, joining many thousands more around the country.

In bizarre scenes, protest organisers refused to kick off the event until the masses broke themselves into groups of 100 and moved along Bourke Street due to coronavirus restrictions limiting gathering numbers.

The protest nearly finished incident-free until a scuffle kicked off between a group of Australia Day protesters and a man wearing a ‘Proud Boys’ t-shirt.

The Proud Boys are a far-right organisation in America, associated with the recent storming of the Capitol building in Washington DC, who believed white men are under threat – even proudly calling themselves ‘Western chauvinists’.  

A man donning a ‘Proud Boys’ t-shirt – an American far-right organisation – was led away from the Australia Day protests in Melbourne on Tuesday

The man carried around an Australia Day beach ball while draping a flag around his shoulders during the protest in Melbourne

A scuffle kicked off between the protesters and the pro-Australia Day supporter in Melbourne (pictured). The back of the man’s t-shirt read ‘F**k Antifa’ – referring to an American left-wing protest movement

‘Invasion Day’ protesters clashed with the man as the crowd stormed the streets of Melbourne on Tuesday. The man was eventually taken away in handcuffs

Police officers were eventually forced to drag out the man in handcuffs away from the protest (pictured) as the protest turned into chaos

The man was detained by police but no arrests were made during the chaotic protest in Melbourne on Tuesday

Thousands of protesters congregated outside parliament on Spring Street in Melbourne on Tuesday for a socially distanced march, joining many thousands more around the country

One protester is seen holding up a sign which reads: ‘pay the rent’ as thousands turned out for the Australia Day protests in Melbourne

Melbourne’s bad weather couldn’t deter the crowd who turned out in droves to protest against Australia Day

One couple confronts a protester as thousands turn up to the ‘Invasion Day’ rally in Melbourne – while others staged a counter-protest

The man, who wore the shirt labelled ‘Proud Boys’ on the front and ‘f**k Antifa’ on the back, had ventured towards the protest holding an Australia Day beach ball with the flag draped around his shoulders.

Protesters could be heard shouting the ‘Australian flag was racist’ as they grappled with the man before police swarmed in and dragged him away outside Flinders Street Station at around 1pm.

Proud Boys are a male-only, extremist organisation, while Antifa is a controversial left-wing anti-fascist movement.

Police confirmed no arrests were made during the protests but two men were briefly detained.

While the majority of Victorians marching through Melbourne were protesting against the national holiday, up to 100 pro-Australia Day ralliers gathered in the Botanical Gardens – ten wearing the ‘Proud Boy’ t-shirts.

One woman is seen raising her fist into the sky during the ‘Invasion Day’ protest in Melbourne on Tuesday (pictured) as thousands turned out

Thousands took to the streets of Melbourne in protest to Australia Day while others opted to celebrate the national holiday

Home made signs were rife in the Melbourne protests with many holding placards that read: ‘Always was, always will be’

Victorian Police officers shadowed the crowds protesting against Australia Day but said they were ‘pleased’ with the behaviour of the demonstrators

Another protester carries a sign while walking through Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday (pictured) in a demonstration against Australia Day

Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Melbourne – nearly everyone in masks (pictured) after the city’s brutal three-month coronavirus lockdown

One woman carries the Aboriginal flag while wearing a matching face mask during Melbourne’s protests on Tuesday

Not everyone was against the national holiday with a smaller crowd also marching to celebrate Australia Day

Some showed up in Australia paraphernalia during the rallies on Tuesday (pictured) to show their support for the day

Dozens of pro-Australia Day supporters were seen donning Australian flags as capes during the protests in Melbourne on Tuesday

Those supporting Australia Day also turned out in Melbourne on Tuesday as they pledged to celebrate the ‘legacy’ of Captain Cook

The crowd gathered at 2pm with many swapping face masks for Australian flag capes with plans to march to St Kilda.

Fresh out of custody, right wing social media blogger Avi Yemini joined the mob as police kept a close watch on the crowd.

The mob marched along St Kilda road as police shadowed them, tensions threatening to boil over with protesters refusing to follow police instructions.

The group chanted ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ as they blocked traffic and headed out of the city, which earlier had been blocked by ‘Invasion Day’ protesters.

Counter protesters continued their march into St Kilda without incident, applauding residents in high rise towers that displayed Australian flags on the way. 

A young girl carries a sign during the ‘Invasion Day’ protests in Melbourne on Tuesday – which was attended by thousands

A couple hold up the Aboriginal flag together while protesting against the treatment of Indigenous Australians in Melbourne

One woman holds up a sign which reads ‘You are on stolen land’ as thousands marched through Melbourne on Tuesday

Supporters of the Invasion Day rally are seen gathering in front of Parliament House in Melbourne on Tuesday – with everyone wearing masks, as is the law in the city

A member of the Indigenous community holds up a sign reading: ‘Stop black deaths in custody’ outside Flinders Street Station on Tuesday

Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman and Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe holds up the Aboriginal Flag at the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne

Not even the bad weather could deter the protesters in Melbourne with thousands turning out

A group of young women are seen at the ‘Invasion Day’ protests in Melbourne on Tuesday (pictured)

Premier Daniel Andrews had warned any behaviour which could spread Covid will not be tolerated by police – with officers swarming the city in preparation

One man who was a member of the group shouted through a megaphone that they were there to honour the ‘legacy of the first fleet’.

‘Australia is a proud Western nation, and we should not apologise for building the society that we live in,’ he said. ‘Our culture is worth fighting for.’

Melbourne’s annual Australia Day parade was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions leaving room for thousands of protestors to storm the streets.

The city’s wet and wild weather did little to dampen the crowd’s spirits, which was warned the march would not take place unless everyone socially distanced. 

Premier Daniel Andrews had warned any behaviour which could spread Covid will not be tolerated by police – with officers swarming the city in preparation.

Those in the protest held up handmade signs reading: ‘change the date’ and ‘always was, always will be’.

Nearly everyone were donning face masks and the crowd actively socially distanced during the day’s entirety.     

Police claimed they were ‘pleased’ with the behaviour of those that attended the protests.

Demonstrators marched through the city of Melbourne on Tuesday demanding the date of Australia Day be changed

A police officer is seen at the rallies in Melbourne on Tuesday while one protester holds a ‘prosecute killer cops’ sign

A protester wearing a face mask with the Aboriginal flag on it is seen at the ‘Invasion Day’ rally in Melbourne

Large crowds turned up at the ‘Invasion Day’ protests in Melbourne on Tuesday as police officers kept a watchful eye

Two women wear ‘Always was, always will be’ shirts while attending the rally in Melbourne

Meanwhile up to 100 pro-Australia Day demonstrators took to the streets in Melbourne as well

Some Melburnians supported the national holiday and proudly donned Australia Day t-shirts on Tuesday

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