Australia bans Nazi salutes, swastikas after extremist right-wing protests | EUROtoday

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Displays of Nazi salutes and symbols had been banned in Australia beginning Monday, with lawbreakers dealing with 12 months’ imprisonment.

The ban will “ensure no one in Australia will be allowed to glorify or profit from acts and symbols that celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology,” Attorney General Mark Dreyfus stated in a press release Monday.

Displays of Nazism are legally restricted in additional than a dozen international locations, significantly inside Europe, in line with Yad Vashem, a Holocaust remembrance heart. However, within the United States, a Supreme Court ruling in 1977 upheld the National Socialist Party of America’s proper to reveal whereas displaying Nazi symbols beneath the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech.

The Australian invoice was launched in June by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s center-left authorities, after incidents the place Nazi salutes had been used. These included a rally towards rights for transgender folks in March and an anti-immigration rally in May, each exterior the Victoria state parliament home in Melbourne.

In a dialogue of the laws on podcast The Briefing in November, Dreyfus stated there had been “unthinkable, disturbing and appalling displays of antisemitic hatred and violence and symbols in our communities” over the previous 12 months.

“And in recent weeks, I’m sad to say, we’ve seen a heightening of that kind of unacceptable behavior,” he stated.

The web and covid-19 lockdowns, which had been particularly strict in Melbourne, the place the primary protests happened, had been elements in an increase in right-wing extremism, in line with a 2022 Australian Parliamentary Library briefing to lawmakers on the difficulty.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry stated there was greater than a sevenfold improve within the variety of reported antisemitic incidents in October and November 2023, proper after Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel and the following Israel-Hamas warfare, when in comparison with the identical interval in 2022. There was a 13-fold spike in anti-Muslim incidents over an identical interval, in line with the Islamophobia Register Australia.

“It ought to be a matter of pride in our country, which is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, that everybody is free to practice their faith, everybody is free to live in our country without fear of discrimination,” Dreyfus stated within the November interview.

The federal invoice bans public shows of the Nazi salute and Nazi symbols together with the Hakenkreuz, extra generally known as the swastika; the double-sig rune, related to the SS; and symbols utilized by terrorist organizations. It additionally forbids buying and selling in materials that exhibits prohibited symbols.

It makes a federal crime of what was already unlawful in various levels beneath state legislation in components of Australia, with exceptions for reputable non secular, tutorial, academic, inventive, literary or scientific functions and media protection.