A protester who was involved in a violent brawl outside the Melbourne Halal expo has told SBS News he was hit with a PVC pole, but is prepared for more violence at a similar expo in Sydney on Sunday.
A man who travelled from Sydney to demonstrate outside the Melbourne Halal Expo has spoken about the violence that broke out between rival protesting groups.
Party For Freedom leader Nick Folkes told SBS News he was rammed with a PVC pole in the brawl which broke out between his group and the anti-racist protesters.
“They were well-organised and they came from all sides sort of thing and they caught us unaware because some of us were talking to journalists - they ambushed us,” Mr Folkes said.
He said his group were determined to protest at Sunday’s Halal Expo in Sydney and would be better prepared for any further violence.
“If the anarchists or communists do try and get us there'll be a response sort of thing and we'll defend ourselves - not promoting violence, but if they attack us we definitely will defend ourselves,” he said.
The violent brawl has prompted a call from the Islamic Council Of Victoria (ICV) for police to disperse groups when the threat of violence is likely.
“It's a shame that the Muslims are being dragged into this,” ICV spokesman Kuranda Seyit said.
“I think it's time the police re-assessed their strategy and dispersed these groups before it gets to that level.”
Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said police were concerned at the growing use of face- masks worn by protesters, but there would be no change to pre-protest tactics.
“Providing there's no offences being committed and that there's no crimes being caused then we'll facilitate protest," he said
"We don't form a view of the appropriateness of their political views are or their positions are."
Sydney’s Halal Expo will take place at Fairfield Showground on Sunday.