Competing protests at Save Safe Schools rally

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Protesters from Equal Love and the Socialist Alternative stood on one side of a row of police as they faced off with a small group of counter-protesters from Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front.

Saturday afternoon in the Murray Street Mall saw three simultaneous protests, with Save Safe Schools WA campaigning for the proposed changes to the curriculum of the LGBTIQ anti-bullying program to be rescinded. The group also wants the federal government to commit to ongoing funding beyond 2017.

Nearby Equal Love – the campaign for marriage equality, and members of the Socialist Alternative shouted down counter-protesters from Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front.

Organisers, and supporters, from the three protests traded insults and made accusations about each other in a stand off that saw blurred lines between the different political positions and causes.

The Save Safe Schools campaign have accused the Socialist Alternative of hijacking their event. Concern has also been raised that the Equal Love organisation has become just a front for the ultra-left wing political group.

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Speaking to Equal Love supporters, Clare Francis from the National Union of Students said the supporters of LGBTI rights clearly outnumbered their opponents.

“We are clearly outnumbering them, and I think that is the case in general on this issue. The people who support LGBTI rights are growing and the Reclaim Australia’s of the world, the homophobic, the transphobic in this country, they are shrinking.” Francis said.

When counter-protesters from far-right groups United Patriots Australia and Reclaim Australia arrived, police quickly formed a barricade between them and the groups supporting the LGBTIQ+ anti-bullying program.

The speakers from the opposing protest said they were not opposed to people being gay but opposed the anti-bulling program being offered in schools.

One unidentified speaker brought up the issue of transgender people accessing the bathroom of their identifying gender.

“If any one of you freaks goes in a bathroom near my my wife or daughter, I dare you!” threatened the speaker during one of the conflicts most heated moments.

While the LGBTI group shouted; “Nazi scum off our streets”, across the police blockade, the right-wing protesters from Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front shouted back “Pedo scum off our streets”.

See the video of the protests below.

Later in the afternoon five members of the UPF returned and became involved in a scuffle with supporters of Save Safe Schools. Police issued UPS leader Dennis Huts with a move on notice after he allegedly pushed a young woman. Huts has subsequently stated that he acted in self-defense.

The Save Safe Schools campaign have announced they will be holding another rally on June 4th.

The United Patriots Front posted a video to social media declaring they will counter protest all rallies about the safe schools program.

OIP Staff


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Update: Sunday 24th April 10pm. Changes were made to the opening paragraph, and paragraph 8 to improve clarity. Additional information was added to 2 to provide greater detail about he changes to the program’s curriculum and funding. Additional information was added to paragraph 13 to include Mr Huts statement. Paragraph 14 was broken into two paragraphs and the working of the new paragraph 15 was changed.     

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