Police blame “Kardashian-style politics” for violent clash
Published: 05 December 2017
Protests feed the fame machine for outrage peddlers
A protestor throws a street sign towards police last night
Image © 2017 AAP Image/James Ross
Police have blamed "Kardashian-style politics" for the violent clash between left and right wing groups over controversial UK alt-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos in Melbourne.
Dozens of officers in riot gear had to be brought in to separate the activists during the melee that kicked off outside Mr Yiannopoulos' speaking venue.
One police officer was hit in the leg by a rock and two people were arrested for "discharging a missile" outside the Pavilion at Kensington on Monday night.
Victoria Police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said that Melbourne now has a “critical mass” of people with extreme views on both sides who use gatherings like this as an excuse to engage in violence to get attention for their causes.
"We've almost got Kardashian-style politics now and these people know that you have to do something outrageous in order to get it on to YouTube and seen across the world," he told Melbourne radio 3AW on Tuesday.
"I've got no doubt part of their motivation last night was to get as much as they could splashed around the world, so it can make them feel famous for five minutes."
Yiannopoulos himself has long used outrage to fuel his fame, and is the latest in a long line of controversial speakers to visit our shores and attract protests which served to amplify their message and top up their coffers.
Recent years have seen ‘pick-up artists’ Julien Blanc and Jeff Allen get their visas cancelled in the middle of Australian tours after petitions and protests.
Liberal Senator Jane Hume suggested that the controversy surrounding the visit by Yiannopoulos was overblown.
"I don't know why this is a headline today,” Senator Hume said. “A young man swaggers into Canberra, attention seeking, saying outrageous things, appeasing the far right and getting some media coverage - it sounds like the Coalition party room."
Mr Yiannopolous, a former Breitbart News tech editor, blamed the "petulant babies" of the left for the clash.
"There was a lot of kerfuffle out front, it was not as the newspapers reported 'a clash between the far left and far right' it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech," he told Sydney radio 2GB.
The groups involved included the left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and two right-wing groups - Reclaim Australia and the True Blue Crew.
Police used copious amounts of pepper spray on the crowd. Officers may make further arrests after viewing CCTV and their own video footage.
The polarising British-born commentator is touring the country and is due to speak in Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
The 33-year-old resigned from conservative website Breitbart News earlier this year after he suggested it was acceptable for older men to sleep with teenage boys.
Tour organisers had previously said security and police costs would amount to $150,000.
© 2017 AAP