Australia

Heated clashes at mosque protest at Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast)

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KATHLEEN DONAGHEY, THE COURIER-MAIL

AN anti-mosque protest on the Sunshine Coast has turned ugly this morning as verbal clashes erupted between anti-Islamists and students supporting freedom of religion.

About 500 people turned up in Church Street, Maroochydore, where a property is planned to be turned into a place of worship for Muslims.

Most of the crowd carried placards against Islam and chanted “No Mosque here” but a smaller group waved banners opposing “Bigotry” and offering “Free Hugs”.

Amid a strong police presence, the protest immediately turned ugly and personal when the anti-mosque crowd turned on the uni students, hurling abuse and singling out individuals.

Senior citizens, tradies and mums and dads with banner warning “Islam is plotting our destruction” and “Islam affects the community” screamed at young women carrying posters that read “No to hate, Yes to Freedom of Religion”.

“You’re so stupid,” screamed one woman to a girl whose poster read “No Bigotry.”

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