Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Aussie Riots: SMS message spread, suspicious church fire.

Australia: Fears of attacks spreading with messages showing up in two other states.

As NSW police seek to contain recent tensions with new powers, text messages that fuelled Sydney's race riots have now turned up in two other states, including Victoria. The messages were used to incite mob violence against people of Middle Eastern appearance at Sydney's Cronulla beach on Sunday, in retaliation for an attack on surf lifesavers. Queensland police said yesterday that mobile phone text messages calling for people to start "cracking skulls" had surfaced on the Gold Coast and NSW police said that similar messages had also been reported in Victoria. "I think (Victoria and Queensland) are now starting to see the same messages, or similar messages, to those that we were seeing prior to last Sunday," NSW Deputy Commissioner Andrew Scipione told ABC radio.
Thanks to the tip in comments by Maggie about the Uniting Church fire.
A fire that destroyed a west Sydney church hall may be linked to the race riots in Cronulla, NSW Premier Morris Iemma says. Four men were seen near the Uniting Church hall, which is next to an Islamic centre, in Auburn before the fire broke out about 1.30am (AEDT) on Wednesday. It took about 30 firefighters up to two hours to control the blaze, which is still burning in small pockets on Wednesday morning. The fire follows two days of violent assaults and vandalism during ethnic clashes in Sydney. It also follows an incident on Tuesday night in nearby St Joseph the Worker Primary School where shots were fired into cars and parents abused during a Christmas carols service. No one was hurt and police are investigating. Mr Iemma said he had been in contact with police about the church hall blaze. Asked if the blaze was related to the riots, Mr Iemma said "it may be". "I've been in contact with the police this morning and the police are treating it as suspicious," he told the Nine Network.

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