Violent Muslim Protests in Sydney
Some are masked but most make no attempt to hide the anger burning inside them.
A rioter smashes a police window with a milk crate in the Islamic riots in the CBD of Sydney.
According to a story by Clementine Cuneo of The Daily Telegraph, police are now studying images of the faces of the Muslim protesters who brought fear to the heart of Sydney on Saturday. They are hoping to identify the law-breakers among the group.
Not all of those pictured by media cameras at the protest have committed criminal offences, but police said they were all among the men involved in the protest and they might be able to help detectives identify those who had turned violent.
The Daily Telegraph said police charged a man who allegedly damaged a police car with a milk crate during the Sydney riots.
The 18-year-old from Padstow was charged after attending Bankstown Police Station.
According to the Daily Telegraph, police will allege the man allegedly smashed the windscreen of a fully-marked police car parked on William Street next to Cook and Phillip Park on Saturday afternoon.
He was charged with malicious damage and affray and was given conditional bail. He faced Downing Center Local Court on Oct. 15.
The Daily Telegraph said that brings to seven the number of men charged following the ugly riot sparked by outrage to an anti-Islam youtube movie.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said police were appealing to the community to work with them to help identify those responsible for Saturday’s violent clashes with police.
“You may know or see someone you know in these photographs,” Scipione told The Daily Telegraph.
He added, “Maybe it is someone from your own local community. It may be someone who lives in your street – in your house. It may even be you. Please come forward and help us as we need to work together to ensure that people are either eliminated from our inquiries or, more importantly, those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”
The Daily Telegraph said detectives from the Counter Terrorism and Middle Eastern Organised Crime squads were among the officers who sifted through hundreds of photographs and hours of CCTV – given to them by multiple media outlets – in a bid to identify the culprits.
The Daily Telegraph reported that senior police said “a significant number” of the protesters were already known to them. One of those is Ibrahim Galiel – the husband of controversial Muslim woman Carnita Matthews, who falsely accused a police officer of ripping off her burqa during a routine traffic stop.
Galiel – wearing a bandanna with the Arabic script “We are your soldiers Mohammed” – has not been charged, but police confirmed they were closely looking at his involvement to see if he had committed any offences.
The Daily Telegraph said Counter Terrorism Squad sources said some protesters known to police had criminal backgrounds – rather than links to terrorist groups. “These guys are more thugs than anything else.”
Six men have already been charged over the violent protes, and the Daily Telegraph said Scipione vowed detectives from the specially-created Strike Force McAlister would hunt down those responsible for any violent acts. Scipione denied police were caught off-guard when the violence erupted at lunchtime, despite chaotic scenes as dozens of police cars scrambled towards the city.
He said organisers had not applied to hold a demonstration, but “intelligence was made available to us which allowed the city to start preparing and to bring officers in.”
The Daily Telegraph reported the SMS which was circulated on Friday night, advising people to flock to the CBD the next day to “defend Muhammad’s honor.”
The Daily Telegraph said another mass text message was sent after the violence, in which the sender praised those involved for participation in “Jihad.”
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, well done my brothers & sisters that where (sic) at the protest,” the Daily Telegraph said the message read.
“This is a form of Jihad. We voiced our opinion & InshaAllah they will finally get the message. ## We the young & real followers of muhummad (saw) rose up against the enemy’s of Islam.”
The Daily Telegraph said Scipione defended the low number of arrests on the day, saying more arrests would have taken police officers away from a volatile situation.
“To arrest an offender, to take an offender away, it means you are going to take police officers off the line, you potentially will have breaches because of the lack of staff if you start making mass arrests,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reported, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said he was prepared to deport any non-citizens who were involved in the violent protest.
He said he would await the outcome of any legal action by police before he took action.