Council wants Cronulla riot event stopped

A police officer helps a man after he was set upon by a crowd at Cronulla beach in Sydney, Sunday, December 11, 2005. Source: AAP

Political activists are selling commemorative Cronulla riot T-shirts before a 10-year anniversary rally that Sutherland Shire Council wants stopped.

Far right-wing political activists are planning to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Cronulla riots but the Sutherland Shire Council says it will go to the Supreme Court to stop them.

The Party for Freedom has begun selling memorial T-shirts with the phrase "Sydney is fun. Cronulla is a riot" before their planned event on December 12.

Next Friday will mark the anniversary of the first of a series of riots, which sparked days of violence across Sydney's southern beaches in 2005.

Tensions simmered after two volunteer surf lifesavers were assaulted when they responded to complaints that young men of Middle Eastern appearance were insulting girls on the beach in the predominantly Anglo-Celtic Sutherland Shire.

A week later, thousands rallied in Cronulla and assaulted people of Middle Eastern appearance, resulting in violent clashes and more than 100 people being charged.

A legal bid to stop the commemorative event is expected to be made by the council in the NSW Supreme Court in the coming days.

Speakers at next Saturday's event include Party for Freedom chairman Nicholas Folkes and Kim Vuga, who found fame on the SBS television program Go Back To Where You Came From.

Self-titled `Great Aussie Patriot' Shermon Burgess, who once fronted the far-right United Patriots Front, will also speak.

"Our solicitors, our legal team, are at the moment gathering information hoping to get to court," Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce told AAP on Thursday.

Event organisers have not applied to council for permits to hold their rally, and multiple applications to police have been rejected.

Mr Pesce said it was concerning the group has chosen Cronulla and the anniversary of the violence to air views which have nothing to do with the beachside suburb.

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"They obviously have these concerns with Muslims and I don't know why it has to be held in Cronulla," he said.

"Their concerns are Australia-wide, not Cronulla-wide."

The council will have normal security in place, with CCTV cameras used to identify troublemakers, but Mr Pesce says he doesn't think there will be a repeat of the 2005 violence.

Police, the council, businesses and the community are prepared this time, he said.

Mr Folkes did not return calls from AAP on Thursday but in a blog post revealed the event would go ahead despite opposition from the council and police rejecting permits.

"It is important for Australians to attend the anniversary in remembrance of the brave men who stood up defending their community," he wrote.

NSW Police say they are well prepared for any contingency and a police operation will be put in place if the rally does go ahead.

"Police will not tolerate unlawful behaviour or any action that risks the safety of others; anyone caught breaking the law will be swiftly arrested and charged," a spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.

Source AAP

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