In Australia, thousands of people have marched through Sydney to rally against racism following last week’s clashes between whites and ethnic Lebanese. Fearing fresh outbreaks of violence, police have boosted security around the city’s beaches and reiterated warnings for people to stay away from the seaside. But Australians from both sides of Sydney’s cultural divide have taken to the streets to say enough is enough.
“You know racists keep telling people to go home and in Australia besides indigenous people, we all come from somewhere else,” said one protestor. “People were not under the influence of alcohol, everything was prepared, banners were prepared, free food was prepared, it wasn’t just a few people getting drunk and foolish,” added another man. The violence has damaged Australia’s image as a country that warmly welcomes immigrants.
It has also exposed tensions between Sydney’s territorial surfing sub-culture and ethnic Lebanese youths from poorer parts of the city. More than 50 people have been arrested in connection with last Sunday’s riots.