Protesters have clashed at an event featuring a controversial British right-wing commentator. Photo: AAPViolent clashes have erupted in Melbourne, with protesters brawling in the streets and wielding crude weapons at an event for a controversial international right-wing commentator.
Outside the event for alt-right British speaker Milo Yiannopolous on Monday, demonstrations quickly escalated as anti-fascist and hardline right-wing groups clashed.
Hundreds of protesters from left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and two right-wing groups, Reclaim Australia and the True Blue Crew, rallied with a heavy police presence attempting to maintain order.
Convicted racial villifier Neil Erikson attended the rally and said hundreds of supporters would be there to support the speaker.
“We are here to express our freedom of speech,” he told the ABC.
Despite dozens of officers working to keep the groups separate, at least two men were pepper sprayed after they started fighting, with others joining in.
Chants of “f*** off Nazis” were yelled by anti-fascist groups, while supporters of Yiannopolous were waved Trump flags and wore red “Make America Great Again” caps.
An anti-fascist protester said they wanted to send a positive message that they were against racism, sexism and transphobia.
“Everything that Milo stands for we are against that,” Chris Di Pasquale said.
People living in nearby public housing also joined the protest with anti-racism signs and some chanting about Palestinian land rights.
With the departure of right-wing groups many people believed to be from the flats turned on the police and media, grabbing at cameras and throwing punches.
Rocks were thrown at a police van and the road was closed to traffic in both directions.
Event promoter Damien Costas said the activists were wasting taxpayers’ money by protesting against the event.
“Simply because his (Yiannopolous) views are different from the status quo,” Mr Costas said.
The polarising British commentator is touring the country and is due to speak in Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
The 33-year-old resigned from conservative website Breitbart News after he seemed to suggest it was acceptable for older men to sleep with teenage boys.
Multiple people were arrested during the event but police could not confirm the exact figure or whether any charges had been laid.