‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.’
So goes an old nursery school rhyme. One that the politically correct brigade might do well to chant each morning before deciding to take part in violent protests against free speech.
The lefty activists, some carrying vulgar signs, were so fearful of what outspoken British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos might say, a massive police presence was required to keep them in order. Even so, seven protesters were arrested.
You have to wonder how much influence left leaning media have on their ideologies. One paper, The Age, ran three sets of separate headlines this morning disparaging not only Yiannopoulos, but his right to speak to the thousands of people who wish to hear his words.
The three headlines in question:
‘No defence, just defensive’
‘The hijacking of “free speech”’
‘Troll’s tour about hate speech, not free speech’
It is perhaps with headlines like that in mind that seven protesters have been arrested after clashing with police and fans of controversial British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at his secret Sydney event.
The function venue Le Montage in Lilyfield was heavily guarded with mounted police, officers on bicycles, riot squad, marine police and police vans barricading the event after several arrests were made at his Victorian event on Monday night.
The venue wasn’t revealed until an hour before the event was scheduled to start and the surrounding streets were all closed off in the hours leading up to his scheduled speech.
The rally became violent as some protesters tried to break through police surrounding the venue and refused to listen to officers who ordered them to move off the street.
Fans of the alt-right commentator were heckled by more than one hundred protesters as they entered the venue, with police having to stand between the two groups.
One sign read ‘f*** off Nazi scum’, while protesters chanted ‘Muslims are welcome, Milo is not,’ and ‘Nazi scum off our street’.
Four people were arrested for breaching the peace, one for assaulting a police officer, one for affray and one for not complying with direction.
Inside the waterfront venue, thousands of supporters cheered as Mr Yiannopoulos stepped on stage.
Earlier on Tuesday, the polarising figure attended a Q&A session at Parliament House.
The 33-year-old was heckled as he entered the packed room of fans, journalists and the morbidly curious in Canberra, but there were no security issues.
The self-described ‘one-man wrecking crew’ and ‘internet supervillain’ was there at the invitation of Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm.
Fights broke out at Mr Yiannopoulos’ event in Melbourne on Monday, with police forced to use pepper spray.
Mr Yiannopoulos’ speeches on university campuses in the US have sparked violent protests, and he was banned from Twitter last year amid a barrage of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.
He resigned from conservative website Breitbart News after seeming to suggest it was acceptable for older men to sleep with teenage boys.
The US-based commentator is touring Australia and is due to speak again in Sydney on Wednesday and the Gold Coast later in the week.
The Australian Tribune with AAP