'Shocked': Man photographed wearing swastika armband at Melbourne market

The incident, which occurred on Friday afternoon in Moorabbin, was reported to Victoria Police.

The man was seen at a Moorabbin market in Melbourne.

The man was seen at a Moorabbin market in Melbourne. Source: Supplied

A man has been photographed wearing a swastika armband at a fruit and vegetable market in suburban Melbourne.

The incident, which occurred at the Moorabbin Wholesale Farmer Fresh market on Friday afternoon shortly after 4pm, was reported to the Anti-Defamation Commission and Victoria Police.

According to the Anti-Defamation Commission’s chairman Dvir Abramovich, a shocked onlooker phoned Victoria Police and was later called back and told there was nothing they could do as it was not against the law to wear a swastika.

"He was understandably shocked, this kind of thing should not be happening on the streets of Melbourne," Dr Abramovich told SBS News.

In a statement, a Victoria Police spokesperson said: "At the time of the phone call the man described had already left the area and there were no reports of criminal activity".

"Victoria Police respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully, but we will not tolerate people breaking the law or urging violence and hatred within our community," the spokesperson said.

"We ask anyone who witnesses, or is subject to discrimination or victimisation on the basis of religious affiliation, sexuality, gender identity or race to inform police immediately."

There are no Victorian or federal laws banning the display of Nazi symbols.

Victoria Police said depending on the intent of the individual, other laws may apply.  

The man photographed wearing a swastika armband
Source: Supplied

Dr Abramovich said the incident highlighted the need for new laws in Victoria to outlaw hate symbols such as swastikas.

"Australian Nazis should not be allowed to intimidate anyone, and it is simply unacceptable to think that in Melbourne, neo-Nazi thugs have a license to openly brandish this symbol of extermination and evil, knowing full well that Victoria Police is powerless to stop them," he said.

Published 6 February 2021 at 4:55pm
By Jarni Blakkarly
Source: SBS News