Two arrested after violent protest in Sydney’s south-west – Sky News Australia

Two arrested after violent protest in Sydney’s south-west - Sky News Australia

Two people have been arrested and a police officer has been injured after a violent protest erupted outside a church in Sydney’s south-west where One Nation’s Mark Latham was set to speak. 

The clash between hundreds of people and more than a dozen LGBTQI+ protesters happened outside St Michael’s Church at Belfield on Tuesday at about 5pm.

New South Wales Police including the Public Order and Riot Squad Riot Squad were called to the scene to disperse the crowd which reached about 500 people.

Additional police resources like the Operational Support Group were also called in to help break up the riot. 

Footage shared on social media showed the wild scenes which erupted outside the church, which included a moment where a person was allegedly pushed to the ground. 

According to reports, about 15 people from an LGBTQI+ activist group turned up to protest at the event before supporters of the One Nation NSW leader also arrived.

During the clash, police allege a number of glass bottles and other projectiles were thrown at officers.

Police allege a male constable was also struck in the hand, which caused him an injury. 

He was taken to Canterbury Hospital in a stable condition. 

Mr Latham condemned the violence during the protest in an interview with ABC’s 2GB host Ben Fordham on Wednesday morning.

He said he was told by police that activists were going to block the road and deny access to the front entry of St Michael’s Church. 

Mr Latham was set to discuss a number of topics at the event at the church including school education, religious freedoms and parental rights.

“Police informed me that out the front there’d been, well I suppose, chaotic scenes, the equivalent of a riot, where some of the parishioners took exception of the fact that access to their church was going to be blocked by these transgender protesters, and they took matters into their own hands which was wrong,” Mr Latham said.

“I think blocking roads and access to churches is definitely wrong in that setting, people like myself, a politician running for elected office, should be allowed to make his speech without that kind of action.

“They can protest on the footpath, but not blocking roads and actually blocking and denying access to the church.

“But it’s also wrong for people to take things into their own hands with violence, it should have been left to the police to handle and regrettably it wasn’t.”

Mr Lathan added he was “all for free speech”, but condemned the behaviour of blocking roadways. 

Police confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that two people had been arrested following the protest.

A 34-year-old man was arrested and taken to Campsie Police Station. 

He was charged with encourage the commission of crimes and was given conditional bail to appear before Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday, April 11. 

A 41-year-old man was also arrested and charged with common assault.

He will appear before Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday, May 30. 


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