Australia PM denies anti-terror policies to blame for massive Sydney race riot Bernard Hibbitts at 9:07 AM ET
[JURIST] Australian police arrested 16 people [NSW Police statement] Sunday after a massive race riot in a Sydney suburb set 5000 people, mostly white men and youths, against individuals of apparent Middle Eastern descent. New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney described the outbreak as "the worst violence that I have ever seen in my policing service of 40 years"; Australian Prime Minister John Howard immediately condemned the violence as unacceptable and un-Australian [press conference transcript], and denied suggestions that his government's strict new anti-terror laws and warnings about potential home-grown terrorists had bred an atmosphere of fear and racial tension contributing to the riots: "everything that this Government has said about home-grown terrorism has been totally justified, totally justified and it is a potential threat". A number of academic observers blamed the outbreak on talk radio and "white Australia" policies associated with Pauline Hanson's One Nation [political party website] party. In the wake of the rioting Sunday incendiary text messages circulated from both sides in the violence, prompting law enforcement authorities to fear another outbreak; local media reports [ABC Australia report] Monday night Australian time indicated "another night of violence and protests", with maurauding groups travelling around neighborhoods in cars and police confiscating potential weapons. The Australian has local coverage.
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