Cronulla, Day 2
The Sydney Morning Herald described how the youths began smashing up shops and cars with baseball bats and threatening passers-by. There were more disturbances in the neighbouring suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands where bricks were thrown at passing cars.
Around 600 people, some armed with pistols and crowbars and summoned by mobile phone text message, gathered to confront one another on Maroubra Beach, in a mainly white suburb to the south of the city.
That's actually one of the better media reports I have read about this. Meanwhile PM John Howard "appeals for calm" and tries to avoid comparisons to Chirac.
He said: "There appears to be an element of white supremacists and they really have no place in mainstream Australian society, those sort of characters belong in 1930s Berlin." Is he watching the news?
Witnesses said "chaos" had broken out in a shopping centre at south Sydney's Cronulla Beach, the scene of mob violence on Sunday, with vehicles damaged and police making arrests as gangs of men roamed the streets.
Reports said: "People are standing around in shock, just watching. Every window in some cars have been smashed. Roads have been blocked by police."
One resident, who didn't want to be named, said about 50 cars had swept into the area, disgorging men of Middle Eastern appearance who begun wrecking every car in sight with baseball bats.
Are these the white supremacists Howard is so concerned about? Probably not.
Note that the 'white supremacists' spared the nearby Korean community of some 60,000. "There is no chance that this riot will spread to Korean residents," said a representative from the Korean Society of Sydney. He seems pretty confident. You'd think that Koreans would be quite worried if indeed there were thousands of angry white supremacists roaming the streets like it was Berlin in the 30s.
Color me crazy, but could it be that despite claims by Howard and the media most of the Aussie rioters are not in fact neo-Nazi or white supremacists? Are most of these people in fact locals extremely angry at what they see as continued harassment and generally intolerable behavior by members of the Lebanese immigrant community? Instead of condemning the rioters with a broad brush, shouldn't the authorities try to understand the root causes of the unrest?