04:24 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Opposing protest groups, from the Reclaim Australia anti-islam group (foreground) and those calling for an end to racism (background) are separated by a police line in Brisbane, July 19, 2015

    Seven Arrested as Australian Anti-Islam and Anti-Racism Rallies Continue

    © REUTERS / Jason Reed
    Asia & Pacific
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    Anti-Islam protests and anti-racism counter-protests continued across Australia on Sunday, leading police to arrest a total of seven people across the country.

    Five people were arrested in Sydney and police deployed pepper spray in Melbourne as anti-Islam and anti-racism rallies took place across Australia.

    While anti-Islam protesters claimed that they only oppose Islam for its "slow spread of a Sharia-style dispensation of justice," anti-racist counter-protesters claimed that many of the protesters are linked to neo-Nazi groups.

    "The fact that some of them spout online pro-neo-Nazi propaganda, I think that just shows who we are up against here," one protester told The Australian newspaper.

    One of the anti-Islam protest group leaders told the newspaper that she is not opposed to Muslims, but only to Islam, which she sees as divisive.

    "I'm not targeting Muslims, I’m targeting the ideology, what Islam stands for and it’s very foreign to our culture and to Christianity," she told a crowd in the city of Rockhampton.

    Sunday's protests followed clashes between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups on Saturday, which led police to arrest four of the demonstrators.

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    arrest, protest, Australia, Melbourne, Sydney
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