Last Friday, a group of demonstrators staged a rally outside the Humanist Society House in Chippendale, protesting the activities of ultra-right-wing group Klub Naziya. There was only one problem – the targets of the ire failed to turn up.
Klub Naziya is understood to have met in the area on a monthly basis for the past few months. Last week’s demonstration followed on from a similar protest in early October, when according to organisers, more than 70 people surrounded the building when the meeting took place. On that occasion, said co-ordinator Mark Gawne, the protest successfully prevented the meeting from taking place and raised awareness of Klub Naziya’s presence and activity in the area.
In September, the inner city played host to the Sydney Forum – an annual weekend gathering of neo-fascist and nationalist groups from across the country. According to organisers, there has recently been distribution of racist, white-pride leaflets in the area, targeting international students, non-white and migration workers. They cited the activities of Klub Naziya, the Sydney Forum, and the attempts of the Australia First Party to register for federal elections as recent initiatives of the extreme right in Australia.
“We’ve been watching them a few months – we think it’s completely unacceptable, unsafe, and dangerous,” said protester Amanda Kerr. “The idea is, we want them not to be meeting here – we don’t want them to meet anywhere – and we’re going to drown them out, have a party, tell them that they’re not welcome in our neighbourhood.”
A thumping live drum beat was used to increase commotion in the area and attempt to drown out the meeting thought to be taking place inside Humanist Society House. But at least one protester disagreed with the approach used.
“I support the right to protest, but I don’t support the right to stop the freedom of speech of what’s going on in there,” he said, addressing the crowd. “For a start, you don’t actually know what they’re saying, because you have never been in there to talk to them and ask them – even though you could if you wanted to. I’m not from their group – I’m against them, I’m against their ideas – but I respect freedom of speech.”
Members of Klub Naziya could not be reached for comment.