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VIDEO: Anti-Islam and anti-racism rallies turn violent in Melbourne

Anti-immigration and anti-racism protesters clash in Coburg in Melbourne, Saturday, May 28, 2016. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING Source: AAP

Rallies by rival anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters have turned violent in Melbourne, even after riot police separated the two groups.

Protesters have been hit with Australian flag poles and drenched in pepper spray in ugly clashes between rival groups at a rally in Melbourne.

Heavy rain didn't deter the groups in Coburg on Saturday as they rallied against both Islam and racism at Bridges Reserve.

More than 500 people, some draped in the Australian flag and most with their faces covered, had to be separated by riot police on Bell Street in Coburg.

More than 50 police, including the mounted branch, separated the rival groups numerous times during the rally that began about 11am.

Some of those at the rally said they were part of the anti-Islamic group UPF and the True Blue Crew.

Others were marching as part of the No Racism in Moreland rally.

WARNING: Violence and offensive language, viewer discretion advised

When they were separated the two groups did their best to find other ways to fight each other, running from one side of the park to another in an attempt to break police lines that blocked entrances between the groups.

Seven people have been arrested so far.

UPF's Blair Cottrell said rival groups had been smashed and had earlier said they would use "force and terror" against their rivals.

When asked how he thought the day went, Mr Cottrell said it was a "great success" but was interrupted by a masked follower when asked if the fighting between the two groups lessened their message.

That man yelled abuse at reporters covering the rally, swearing at them and accusing the media of twisting his words.

The anti-racism groups, many of them who also had their faces covered, threw punches and oranges over police lines as well as calling their rivals "Nazi scum".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking in Melbourne ahead of taking part in the Long Walk to the MCG said Australia was a "very harmonious society".

"So my message today and every day, as your prime minister, is that mutual respect, respect for each other, giving the respect to others that we ask them and expect them to give to us, that is the key to our success, the most successful multicultural society in the world," he told reporters.

Mr Turnbull will also attend the Dreamtime match between Richmond and Essendon for the AFL's Indigenous Round.

Source AAP