By Jessica O’Donovan
More than 150 people gathered in Murray Street on Saturday to protest against racism and intolerance towards the Australian Muslim community.
The rally was organised by United Against Racism and Bigotry, a WA campaign group opposing the neo-Nazi party Reclaim Australia.
“What we are standing against today is the constant racism and Islamophobia which is spewed out by the government every single day. We want to reclaim Australia and the liberty alliance,” says 22- year-old Alex Kemp.
Mr Kemp believes that throughout Europe, in particularly the UK, far right groups such as Reclaim Australia have been given too much space to grow and he doesn’t want to see that happening in Australia.
“It’s important to me to come out against the far right, against these fascists. We need to make sure they don’t grow because what they are trying to do essentially is gain some legitimacy through rallies and demonstrations. Today is about saying no – racism isn’t normal discourse.”
The rally attracted support from Perth residents of all ages and backgrounds each with a common cause – to end Islamophobic behaviour.
“I think it’s important to stand in solidarity with the Islamic community and show them there are people here in Perth who support them. I want to give them a fair go,” says 27-year-old protester Bruce Polmear of Willeton.
“The quickest way to help out people who want to do harm to Australia is to make an entire community feel like they are not welcome. It’s only going to perpetuate the situation and make it worse.”
The Reclaim Australia political group founders describe themselves as “patriotic Australians” and propagate a controversial, anti-Islam philosophy.
“People can create change by not supporting groups like Reclaim Australia. Quite frankly it’s reminiscent of WWII in how one party is against a single group of people, which is actually kind of disgusting,” says 16-year-old protester Grace Moscou of Peppermint Grove.
Reclaim Australia was approached for comment.