A group of far-right agitators has stormed a Moreland City Council meeting armed with megaphones and a coffin, labelling councils “traitors” and forcing them to leave the room.
The coffin was painted with an Australian flag and was complemented by a huge banner which read “SaveTheDate”.
The protestors, some of whom were draped in Australian flags or wearing fake beards and niqabs, are part of the far-right group Patriot Blue.
It’s the second time the group has interrupted a Moreland City Council meeting in protest of the decision to drop references to Australia Day on January 26. Part of the decision was to keep all citizenship ceremonies in place while throwing support behind calls for the date to be changed.
A video shared by the group on Facebook shows protestors shouting directly into the faces of councillors and jostling with security guards as they force their way into the room.
After the incident, Moreland mayor Helen Davidson said a resident was “heavily pushed during the invasion of the council chamber”.
“My own mother was in the gallery and was distressed by the behaviour of this group and I feared for her safety,” she added.
“We will not be terrorised into changing decisions reached through a democratic process.”
Thankfully, no one has been reported injured and the group left of their own accord.
Neil Erikson, who is regularly active on the Patriot Blue Facebook page, uploaded a video claiming he had been assaulted by the mayor and pointing to a part of his face with the implication it was clearly hurt.
“This mayor of Moreland is a violent criminal,” he said.
The group followed up on his video with a post on Facebook saying, “Security escalated a Peaceful situation with their heavy handed tactics while not even wearing security tags – the Moreland Council think they are above the Law and above their voters!! The voters were not asked about the changes to Australia Day!!”
Whether or not it was Erikson who wrote the second post to support himself remains unclear.
Patriot Blue also stormed a Yarra Council meeting in September with the Party for Freedom group, driven by the same motivation as Wednesday’s actions.
Patriot Blue describe themselves as “a group of concerned Patriots from all different groups whose mission is to convince local Melbourne councils to reverse their decision on scrapping Australia Day on January 26”.
Their website also says, “We have already conducted spot demos at the heavily communist occupied Yarra and Moreland Councils – Our next objective is Darebin Council.”