Protester rushes stage as activists clash with police at far-right Lauren Southern’s Melbourne event
A PROTESTER rushed the stage and was bundled off by security at controversial commentator Lauren Southern’s Melbourne talk.
21 July, 2018
A PROTESTER screaming “I love Muslims!” rushed the stage at far-right commentator Lauren Southern’s Melbourne event and was bundled off by security.
Several activists had to be removed from the room as others clashed with riot police outside, who used pepper spray on the crowd.
The stage invader, identified by New Corp as Nita Habibi, was dragged out of the room to cheers from Ms Southern’s fans.
“I love free speech,” Ms Habibi told The Australian following what has been described as a “thwarted attack” on Southern by the Daily Wire.
“I wanted to interrupt the thing. I think it’s really dangerous what’s happening. Hate speech should be interrupted.”
Ms Southern’s speech was interrupted by protesters with banners chanting “racism off our streets”, according to the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance group.
“Very fun,” says Ms Southern in video footage from the event, as she waves goodbye to the demonstrators from the podium. “All right, is that all? Any more ticket sales from antifa?”
She told the Daily Wire: “Hundreds of protestors and some screaming lady is not going to stop me and patriotic Australians speaking the truth.”
More than 100 protesters, who say the Canadian is racist and Islamaphobic, blocked buses and closed off a street at the Friday night.
The demonstrators chanted “when the fascists are in town, shut it down, shut it down” as people were directed on to buses at Broadmeadows train station, where ticketholders had been told to gather before being transported to a secret venue.
At one point, they encircled a bus, slapping the vehicle and shouting, “Surround the Nazi bus,” while a man inside mooned them.
Warning: Footage in tweets below may contain offensive language
The Hume Highway was also closed after the protesters gathered at La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Somerton, the venue for her talk, and spilled on to the road.
Officers tried to subdue the crowd with pepper spray as they clashed with mounted and riot police.
Right-wing activist Neil Erikson filmed protesters before being hauled away from police. He and two other men are charged with affray and riot over an incident outside an event by controversial commentator Milo Yiannopoulos last year.
Victoria Police is reportedly charging the Canadian provocateur than $67,000 for their presence at the even
“It is disappointing that we had to use significant resources to mediate between two groups with opposing views,” said Commander Tim Hansen.
“Their actions put their lives, the lives of the public and the lives of police officers at risk.”
Ms Southern was expected to cause trouble, with the alt-right YouTube star making headlines since she touched down in Australia. The 23-year-old arrived in Brisbane wearing an “It’s okay to be white” T-shirt, after warning news.com.au she would cause “chaos” with her notorious brand of “free speech”.
The right-winger earlier hit the streets of Melbourne to stir up controversy, although her efforts to generate outrage ahead of her talk tonight appear to have fallen flat.
Even those who bought tickets to the first event of her Australian tour were given minimal detail about where the talk is.
In a message to participants, organisers of the event thanked people for their understanding and patience about the secrecy around the location.
“The fierce opposition to this event by the extreme left elements of Melbourne has been breathtaking in their determination to make it as difficult as possible for us to bring this tour here,” the message said.
“We’ve decided to keep the venue secret as long as possible by asking you to make your way to a train station in the general vicinity, from where we are busing people to the final venue.”
Participants paid between $79 and $749 to attend.
Security around Ms Southern’s talk is reportedly costing organisers thousands with Victoria Police reportedly sending them a $68,000 bill to pay for resources to be used at her show.
An email from Victoria Police quotes the total cost as $230,000 but said police would only charge her $67,842.50, News Corp Australia reported.
“As per the Victoria Police (fees and charges) Regulations 2014, Victoria Police has the right to charge any event organiser for the use of police resources,” a spokesman told AAP.
After violent activists turned Melbourne streets into a war zone during a talk by right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos six months ago, he was also sent a $50,000 bill to cover the heavy police presence.
The Canadian commentator, who is touring with her fellow countryman Stefan Molyneux, is expected to share her controversial views on multiculturalism, Islam and feminism.
The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism has organised a protest in Melbourne to “show fascistic ideas will always lose in Melbourne” against Ms Southern’s show. It called her “a notorious racist and Islamophobe”.
On Saturday she appeared on Sky News, making it clear that she was “happy to be white”.
“If I were black I could say I’m proud, if I were Asian I could say I’m proud, if I were any other ethnicity I could say I’m proud because that’s how our culture is, but if I’m white and I say I’m proud the media will go nuts,” she said.
Ms Southern, who previously worked for Canadian website Rebel Media, was barred from entering the UK earlier this year for distributing “racist” flyers reading “Allah is a Gay God” and “Allah is trans” outside a restaurant in the English town of Luton.