Australian Cops Investigating Neo-Nazis Who Burned White Cross in National Park During Holiday Weekend
Locals and tourists alike were terrified when a group of neo-Nazi hikers rampaged through a national park in southern Australia last weekend, chanting racist and antisemitic slogans and burning a white cross at one point.
A report in The Melbourne Age on Thursday revealed that local police and intelligence officers from the Police Counter-Terrorism Command in the state of Victoria were collecting information about the group, which hiked through the Grampians National Park at the weekend as the country celebrated Australia Day.
The group’s members also visited the tourist town of Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians where they engaged in antisemitic and other racist behavior. At least half-a-dozen tourists and residents said they had reported the men to police.
Six uniformed officers from the nearby town of Stawell spoke to the group, including its leader, ex-Australian army soldier turned neo-Nazi Tom Sewell.
Sewell later posted online pictures of the police officers’ name badges as well as images of the neo-Nazi group posing in front of a Ku Klux Klan-stye burning cross and displaying Nazi salutes at various locations in the Grampians.
Dvir Abramovich — chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, an Australian Jewish civil rights organization — said the group’s weekend activity should prompt state and federal governments and agencies to push for extreme right-wing groups to be proscribed as terrorist entities.
“We do not need to wait for a Christchurch [terror attack] in Melbourne to act,” Abramovich said. “Who would have thought in 2021 Australia, in a week in which we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the modern face of Hitler would reveal itself in our state without consequence?”
According to extremism experts, two right-wing groups, the Lads Society and Antipodean Resistance, recently helped form a new Australian extremist outfit, the National Socialist Network, which in turn helped organize the 38 young, white men to assemble in the Grampians over the Australia Day weekend. Photos showed some of the participants wearing army-issued boots and packs.