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Race-hate gang targets students

The Australian, Australia
Aug. 16, 2004
Natasha Robinson • Sunday August 15, 2004

A campaign of racial vilification is being waged against international students at the University of Newcastle, with a rising number of campus assaults blamed on a militant right-wing group.

Police are investigating the assaults against at least four African and Asian students in the past six months.

The attacks coincide with propaganda campaigns at the university by supporters of the US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance and the Australian nationalist youth movement the Patriotic Youth League.

The campaign has echoes of a West Australian race-hate campaign targeting Asian businesses, which led to the arrest last week of convicted white supremacist Jack van Tongeren.

Newcastle students have been outraged by the wide distribution of a sticker warning white women against having sex with “Black sexual predators” who “maliciously spread AIDS”.

The university administration has not reported its distribution to police.

“The university doesn’t have the right to censor material unless it is defamatory,” said Ron MacDonald, the deputy vice-chancellor responsible for international students. “I have referred the matter to our security people.

“We are removing the material as we see it.”

Herbert Gatamah, a Kenyan student, told The Australian he was verbally harassed by a group of six men at the university bar, one of whom attempted to choke him.

“They were yelling, ‘Get out of my country, you black monkey’,” he said.

Mr Gatamah reported the assault to police. Two of his friends had experienced similar attacks, he said.

Police were called to a house in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond in May after a group of Asian students, together with a small child, were trapped inside for two hours as rocks were thrown at the house.

The students association believes the white supremacist push has been encouraged by the political activity of the Patriotic Youth League, the youth wing of the far-Right Australia First Party, which is based at the university and has been distributing posters warning students “Australia’s ethnic identity is being destroyed”.

But the league has condemned the violence and denied responsibility for the AIDS sticker.

Read The Australian online

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