Protesters have been stomped on, bashed with flag poles, punched, kicked and spat on after an anti-racism rally clashed with anti-Islam groups in Melbourne.
Hundreds of protesters from the two opposing sides took over streets and stopped traffic in the multicultural Melbourne suburb of Coburg on Sunday morning as they rallied against both Islam and racism.
Violence erupted when members from the anti-Islamic group United Patriots Front and the True Blue Crew met with others marching as part of the No Racism in Moreland rally.
The two groups, who had reportedly both planned rallies at Bridges Reserve on Saturday morning, came head-to-head on Bell Street where they had to be separated by riot police.
Several violent clashes followed, during which riot police were forced to deploy pepper spray cannons.
Footage of the violence uploaded to social media showed hundreds of police, both on foot and horseback, trying to separate the rival rallies and bust up brawling opponents.
On several occasions, opposing protesters could be seen punching, kicking and beating each other with flag poles.
At one point, the violence moved onto the front lawn of Coburg Primary School and the Try Coburg Preschool, but thankfully, being a weekend, no students or small children were around to witness the chaos.
Objects, including a crate, were hurled at police during another nearby clash, while in another, a man could be seen stomping on the head of a rival.
The ugly scenes were broadcast live around the world on Facebook by 7 News Melbourne. See them below.
It remains unclear how many people have been injured, although paramedics are on scene and have been seen treating numerous patients, many of whom had been blasted in the face with pepper spray.
Countless people have been arrested.
- WARNING | The below videos were filmed live and have not been edited. They contain extreme coarse language and at times scenes of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.
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