A group of men have performed Nazi salutes on the steps of the Victorian parliament as clashes broke out between protesters in Melbourne.
About 30 people from the National Socialist Movement marched along Spring Street on Saturday afternoon, repeatedly performing the salute at the anti-transgender rights rally.
They also held signs calling transgender people offensive names, while British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull spoke to the crowd.
The anti-trans group clashed with hundreds of others who were rallying in favour of transgender rights.
The pro-trans protesters held signs that included messages such as “trans lives over terf hate” and “women aren’t defined by their bodies”.
Police, including mounted officers, worked to keep the two groups separated.
Pepper spray deployed
Several people were restrained by police and it appeared pepper spray was used on at least one occasion.
Spring Street and the surrounding area remained blocked to traffic for several hours.
The Victorian Opposition condemned the actions of some protesters, saying there was no space in society for neo-Nazism.
“The behaviours today by neo-Nazis are a deliberate attempt to incite hatred and violence and are nothing short of sickening,” a joint statement from Liberal MPs David Southwick and Brad Battin said.
“These shameful individuals and the hateful ideology they push have no place in our state and must never be tolerated.
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