Hong Kong chaos grips Aussie cities
SCUFFLES broke out after hundreds of protesters converged in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide for pro-Hong Kong rallies overnight.
In Melbourne, social media videos show up to 1000 rival activists jostling as tempers flared at the demonstration - which began at 7pm outside the State Library in Swanston Street last night.
The two groups faced off and exchanged heated words before police formed a line separating the groups.
Among the chaos, an ABC cameraman was shoved by a man who then appeared to attack his gear.
The Herald Sunreports that pro-democracy advocates chanted "Free Hong Kong" as they gathered on the steps of the library, carrying signs pledging "solidarity with Hong Kong".
Some of their posters read: "Say No to Hong Kong Police's Brutality", "Support Hong Kong people against tyranny" and "I can't keep calm because Hong Kong is dying."
Some were also wearing red bandages over their right eyes in solidarity with a girl who was allegedly shot in the face by police in Hong Kong late last week.
A social media post by the rally's organiser claimed it had been disbanded about 9pm due to "acts of violence from counter protesters".
The violence in Melbourne follows months of protests in Hong Kong over plans for laws allowing extraditions to mainland China.
There was also a demonstration in Adelaide yesterday, where between up to 80 pro-Hong Kong protesters descended on the city campus of the University of South Australia.
The ABC reports that the protest became heated when more than 100 pro-Chinese demonstrators arrived, one of them claiming a pro-Hong Kong protester had put a hand on a female member of their group.
In Sydney, nearly 500 people gathered for a rally at Martin Place, which was more than three times more than the organisers expected.
The Australian reports that, by 7.15pm, the peaceful and silent protest in Sydney's Martin Place was interrupted by a group of about 50 pro-China protesters who were yelling that Hong Kong was "part of China".
Ariel Lui, a Chinese student at the University of Technology Sydney, was holding a sign that read: "Stop Violence, I support Hong Kong policemen".
"I don't like any people trying to set apart our country," she told The Australian.
Police quickly moved them along and pushed them back to the other side of Martin Place.
The crowds were dispersed about 7:45pm.
There is another pro-Hong Kong protest scheduled for Sydney's Belmore Park today.