NSW premier warns ‘pathetic’ neo-Nazis they will be exposed after attempted rally in Sydney park

The New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, has doubled down on his push to tighten anti-vilification laws after a group of neo-Nazis attempted to hold another rally in a public park on Sunday morning.

Police responded to the gathering of at least 20 black-clad, masked men who gathered at Artarmon Reserve at 9am on Sunday.

The men were moved on by police and left by 10.30am.

Responding to the incident, the premier described those involved as “pathetic”, saying they are “importing hate into New South Wales”.

“This is obviously distressing for many people to see this fascist, ridiculous behaviour on New South Wales streets,” he said.

Minns warned those who participated in Sunday’s rally that police had the power to unmask those involved where they were “attempting to menace people in an anonymous way”.

“So in front of your family, your friends, your employers, your coworkers, you’ll be exposed as a massive racist,” he said.

The premier also reiterated his intention to change anti-vilification laws to outlaw the Nazi salute and other associated symbols.

“We are looking at the laws and examining them to make sure that overt Nazi gestures and symbols are outlawed in New South Wales, and we’ll make sure that the people of New South Wales are safe and we protect the tenants of our multicultural, harmonious community,” he said.

The federal Nationals leader, David Littleproud, said state and federal governments must follow through on prosecuting individuals under existing anti-incitement laws in order to test them in court.

Speaking to Nine’s Weekend Today show on Sunday, Littleproud said that the laws will only work if people are actually charged.

“There’s already anti-incitement laws that are in place and neither state or federal government have actually tested them in a court of law,” he said.

“So I think it’s important we actually do follow through.”

Responding to the incident, Faith NSW’s chief executive, Murray Norman, said “racism, hate, white supremacism, neo-Nazism has no place in New South Wales”.

“This type of hatred we don’t want in Australia. It’s a real abomination,” he said.

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“We want a safe, multicultural society where people can thrive.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said the incident was alarming given that it coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January.

“This weekend we saw uniformed neo-Nazis on the streets of Sydney. It is shocking to see a gang of neo-Nazis roaming freely through our streets,” he said.

The gathering follows another incident on Friday where dozens of men, also wearing black and covering their faces, boarded a train from Artarmon station with the intention of staging a rally in the city for Australia Day.

Officers from North Sydney police, the public order riot squad and police transport command waited for the train to arrive at North Sydney station where they confronted the group who were carrying items including shields and a flag.

Six were arrested and another 55 issued with fines for offensive behaviour.

Police issued Australian neo-Nazi figure Thomas Sewell with a public safety order banning him from parts of Sydney over the long weekend.

The incident drew the attention of the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who said extremist groups had “no place” in Australia and were “rightly condemned by all decent people”.