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The beachside suburb, known by residents as “God’s Country”, saw the spread of violence in a series of ethnically motivated confrontations in the week of December 11th 2005. This day saw the gathering of nearly 5000 people, most of Anglo Celtic background, some locals, some from other Sydney beachside suburbs such as Maroubra and Brighton, in order to “reclaim the beach” after two middle eastern youths attacked Cronulla lifesavers earlier in the week. The notification of the gathering was sent via mobile text to people all around Sydney, inviting them to join in the fight for “Australians” right to reclaim their beaches.
Violence broke out due to a combination of mob mentality and alcohol and many “ethnic” individuals were attacked and assaulted. Signs and t-shirts read discriminatory sayings such as “Fuck Allah, Save Nulla”, “Love it or Leave it”, “Wog Free Zone” and “We grew here, you flew here”. The following nights saw incidents of retaliatory violence and vandalism by those of Middle Eastern decent; throughout Sydney, and from Wollongong to Newcastle protests of both sides were present.
Police locked-down areas of Sydney including Western Sydney, guarding those who were to enter and leave and searched cars and checked identification for those entering the Sutherland Shire area to avoid the occurrence of further incidents. The fight divided many of Sydney, and called for Australians to address their notions of the identity of Australians or more specifically, what is to be Australian? the community was shock to see such violence in a quiet neighbourhood.
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