ANTI–RACISM campaigners say they will be determined to show they are not intimidated by Reclaim Australia when the two groups hold separate rallies in Cessnock on Sunday.
Tensions may run high in the city’s CBD, with both groups set to meet one block apart at 11am. One is labelled a rally against ‘‘racism, hate and bigotry’’, while the other is protesting the proposal for a mosque at Buchanan, with organisers saying it has nothing to do with racism.
Rally Against Racism spokeswoman Phillipa Parsons said her organisation’s protest was not about the Buchanan mosque, but about saying no to racism.
‘‘We are part of a larger mobilisation against racism and Islamophobia perpetuated by far right wing groups like Reclaim Australia,’’ she said.
‘‘Our rally is in Cessnock at the same time as the Reclaim Australia rally because we feel it is important to show we are not intimidated by their hatred, to stand up for our peaceful communities and say no to this fear and hatred they bring to our region.
‘‘Our rally is to peacefully counter many of the claims about moderate Islam made by Reclaim Australia. ‘‘Fortunately, more and more people are becoming aware that moderate Islam reviles the extremist ISIS.
‘‘To defeat the criminal, terrorist organisation that is ISIS and prevent the radicalisation of Australian youth, we must all unite. ‘‘Only then, as a united front will we defeat the radicals.’’
Ms Parsons encouraged everyone who wanted to ‘‘live in peace to stand up and be counted’’ and come along to the rally.
Cessnock ALP councillor Morgan Campbell, Lake Macquarie ALP councillor Barney Langford, other politicians, unionists and Uniting Church Minister John Queripel have signed up to speak at the anti-racism rally.
Reclaim Australia’s Newcastle organiser John Oliver told the Herald earlier this week the protest was being held in conjunction with locals to ‘‘give information about radical Islam’’.
Reclaim Australia and Rally Against Racism protesters held counter demonstrations in Newcastle in July without incident.