Proud Boys Member Arrested At Protest Outside Melbourne’s Victorian Pride Centre

Proud Boys Member Arrested At Protest Outside Melbourne’s Victorian Pride Centre
Image: Proud Boys protest outside the Victorian Pride Centre on December 8, 2022 (Image: Andrew Meddick MP/ Facebook). They were met by counter-protesters comprising over 150 LGBTQI persons and their allies (Image: Victorian Socialists/Facebook).

Victoria Police on Thursday arrested a 34-year-old Mount Waverley man and suspected Proud Boys member, during the protests against a now cancelled drag event at the Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda.

The threat of protests by suspected neo-Nazi and Proud Boys members had resulted in the Stonnington Youth Services postponing the Glitter Nova event

Around five Proud Boys members, dressed in black, hiding their faces behind masks and wearing Proud Boys Australia paraphernalia arrived on Thursday evening and were met by over 150 LGBTQI community members and allies standing in a protective ring outside the Pride Centre. 

Police Will Run Proactive Patrols

“Police attended the area to ensure community safety. A 34-year-old Mount Waverley man was arrested after he refused to follow a direction to move on at approximately 7 pm. The man was conveyed to the St Kilda Police Station for an interview and was released pending summons,” a Victoria Police spokesperson told Star Observer in a statement. 

“Police will continue to run proactive patrols of the area to deter any anti-social behaviour and work with partner agencies to ensure the safety of all community members for future events,” added the spokesperson.

Photos posted on social media showed the police interacting with and handcuffing a man wearing a Proud Boys Australia hoodie jacket. 

The Queer Community Is Strong’

“Our queer community is strong, and the small number of Nazis who bothered to turn up were too terrified to even cross the road,”  City of Port Phillip councillor Tim Baxter posted on Twitter.

“When they try to intimidate us, we show our strength. The Pride Centre is our home, and we won’t let the far right come anywhere near it. Let’s hope we can get back to providing safe and welcoming events for our community, particularly queer kids, soon.” 

Animal Justice Party member and father of two trans children, Andy Meddick,  was at the counter-protest in solidarity with the LGBTQI community. “The event that was to be held was a storybook reading for families. Read to them by, horror of horrors, drag queens,” Meddick posted on social media, adding that he did not agree with the Stonnington Council’s decision to postpone the event in light of the protests from far-right, white supremacists.

The Victorian Pride Lobby echoed those views. “The Lobby is concerned that this decision could embolden right-wing extremists and set a worrying precedent for future events,” the group said in a post on social media, and called on the state government to enact laws against anti-LGBTQI hate speech. “Our community will not be pushed back into the closet by a vocal minority of extremists,” said the Lobby.

‘Hate Will Never Win’

City of Stonnington’s Youth Services had organised Glitter Nova, at the Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda, Australia’s first LGBTQI community hub, on December 8. The event for young people aged 12 to 25, was to feature drag workshops and performances by drag performers including Alexander McKween, Belial B’Zarr and Randy Roy.

A day before the event, messages surfaced on Telegram channels XYZ News, Turning Point Australia and Australian Meditations Nationalist Yarn chat, run by suspected National Socialist Network members. The posts spoke about a protest being planned at the event by a group calling itself ‘People Against Pedos’.

“We were looking forward to this event and understand that many young people were also looking forward to this event and the decision to postpone has not been taken lightly. The safety of our community is paramount,” Stonnington Youth Services said in a statement announcing the postponement hours before the event was to take place.

“Hate will never win,” posted drag performer B’zaar on Instagram. In September, drag performances by B’zaar and others were similarly targeted by members of the far-right Nationalist Socialist Network at an end-of-school-holidays event at Moonee Ponds.

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.