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Police observing crowds prior to confrontations
The Cronulla riots of 2005 were a series of racially motivated mob confrontations which originated in and around Cronullamarker, a beachfront suburb of Sydney, New South Walesmarker, Australia. Soon after the riot, ethnically motivated violent incidents occurred in several other Sydney suburbs.

On 11 December 2005, approximately 5,000 people gathered to protest against recently reported incidents of assaults and intimidatory behaviour by groups of non-locals, most of whom were identified as Middle Eastern youths from the suburbs of South Western Sydney. The crowd assembled following a series of earlier confrontations, specifically an assault on three off-duty volunteer lifesavers which took place the previous weekend. The crowd initially assembled without incident, but violence broke out after a large segment of the mostly White Australian crowd chased a man of Middle Eastern appearance into a hotel and two other youths of Middle Eastern appearance were assaulted on a train.

The following nights saw several violent retaliatory assaults and vandalism in the communities near Cronulla and Maroubra, large gatherings of protesters around south-western Sydney, and an unprecedented police lock-down of Sydney beaches and surrounding areas, between Wollongongmarker and Newcastlemarker.

Earlier events

On Sunday December 4, 2005 a verbal exchange took place after three lifesavers approached a group of Lebanese men on Cronulla Beach and accused the group of staring at them. One of the men responded to the accusations, "I’m allowed to, now fuck off and leave our beach" to which a lifesaver responded, "I come down here out of my own spare time to save you dumb cunts from drowning, now piss off you scum". A fight resulted, in which one of the lifesavers was badly hurt after falling on a star dropper (a tri lobed steel stake) while another was also injured. Radio reports of the unprovoked assault circulated quickly and The Daily Telegraph newspaper also contributed with a string of provocative headlines in the days before the violence broke out. These included, on 6 December, "Fight for Cronulla: we want our beach back", on 7 December, "Gangs turn Cronulla into war zone" and on 9 December, "NOT ON OUR BEACH: Cronulla police vow to defend Australian way".

2GB Radio broadcaster Alan Jones was accused of inciting the riots by fuelling largely anti-Middle Eastern sentiments from callers on his talk show. He read out correspondence on air such as one advocating calling in biker gangs to Cronulla for when the Lebanese thugs arrive to which Jones replied "It will be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs ...". The Hazzard report devoted 108 pages to these broadcasts from 2GB where Jones "openly advocated and encouraged violent reprisals and vigilante behaviour". Jones was found by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to have breached the commercial radio code by broadcasting material that was likely to encourage violence, in the lead up to the riot.

11 December — the riot

Crowds gathered at North Cronulla amid Australian flags and anti-Lebanese fanfare.
On 11 December 2005, an estimated crowd of 5000 gathered at North Cronulla beach and surrounding streets, particularly Elouera Road and Prince Street.

The assembly occurred after members of the local community called for a public demonstration in response to the previous weekend's confrontation between a group of Middle Eastern men and some local Cronulla beach volunteer surf lifesavers. Police had earlier stated that they believed this previous assault had been racially motivated.

In the week leading up to the incident, this confrontation and the subsequent circulation of anonymous calls to gather at the beach — spread via SMS text messaging and other means — were the subject of much publicity and media commentary which played a large role in raising the profile of the event as well as framing it as racially motivated.

A number of demonstrators wore clothing bearing slogans such as "We Grew Here, You Flew Here", "Wog Free Zone", "Ethnic Cleansing Unit", "Aussie Pride", "Save 'Nullamarker", "Lebs out", "Fuck off Lebs", "Lebs go home", "No Lebs", and other such expressions which were also continuously shouted out by the mob.

Representatives from three far-right organisations were also identified handing out pamphlets, namely the Australia First Party, the Newcastle-based Blood and Honour and the Patriotic Youth League (PYL). The PYL describes itself as a "radical nationalist" group with links to the US-based racist skinhead group Volksfront and the New Zealand National Front. The PYL had previously been linked by The Sydney Morning Herald to racially motivated attacks at the University of Newcastlemarker. None of the groups have claimed a role in organising the event.

NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione afterwards said police believed representatives of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups had been among the crowd. "That in fact is something that we're following up," he later told the Nine Network. The network later reported that "one woman was pictured among the angry crowd holding a poster…which advertised a group known as the Patriotic Youth League."

According to ABC Newsmarker, after several hours had passed without direct confrontation, the initially festive atmosphere rapidly turned to violence:

According to one local "It all started when this guy outside Northies shouted, 'I'm going to blow youse all up.'" before he was surrounded by the crowd and attacked.

Through the remainder of the day, several more individuals of Middle Eastern appearance were assaulted. Police and paramedics leading away the victims from the riots were also assaulted by groups of people throwing beer bottles. Several dozen people were treated for minor cuts and bruises, while six individuals were evacuated under police escort to be assessed by doctors. One was further evacuated to St. George Hospitalmarker, in a serious but stable condition..

Crowds with police and ambulance in background
As they moved to protect several individuals targeted by the crowds, many of the police present employed riot equipment including capsicum spray in order to subdue several of the attackers. A call for reinforcements was placed to the police station in Mirandamarker, a nearby suburb on the peninsula. Local police at Cronulla had earlier commented that they were sufficiently prepared to deal with any anticipated violence at Cronulla beach, but seemed to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who had arrived.

Elouera Road, the southern end of which was the epicenter of the troubles, was temporarily closed to traffic. A total of 25 people were later reported injured in the incidents, including two ambulance officers. Later that evening, The Sydney Morning Herald quoted a New South Wales Police spokesman as saying that seven people had been arrested, and that charges had been filed against four individuals. By the following morning of the 12th, the News Limited website reported twelve arrests total. Charges to be laid included assaulting police, throwing a missile, offensive behaviour, hindering police and resisting arrest.

Reaction and retaliation

11 December — evening

Following the confrontations at the beach earlier in the day, there were reports that a number of middle eastern looking youths travelling in groups were converging on various locations in the region, in a series of apparent "hit-and-run" retaliatory actions. As several convoys of men of Middle Eastern appearance approached the beachside suburbs at around 10:45 p.m., the New South Wales police operations commander on duty issued instructions that their cars were not to be approached, but that registration and location details be recorded. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Waites confirmed the reason for this instruction was "They weren't committing any offences at the time [they were in convoy] and it was about making sure they recorded [the details] so they have all the information." Several of the individuals concerned were held in custody that night in relation to some later events of that evening, with some ensuing charges being filed a little over a month afterwards. Superintendent Ken McKay, head of Strike Force Enoggera later set up to deal with the incidents, commented: "We are investigating a large number of crimes that occurred on this night and I'm quite confident, having around 200 car numbers … A lot has been made of issues that aren't issues." Promising that there would be further arrests as investigations were completed, he also noted that he was sick of the politicising of the investigations into the revenge attacks.

Through the remainder of the evening, cars and windows in Maroubramarker, Arncliffemarker and Rockdalemarker were vandalised. Several instances of property damage at the Rockdale railway stationmarker were reported. A 23-year-old man was stabbed outside a golf club in Wooloowaremarker after being approached by a group of men of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance.

By 1:00 a.m., reports of violence had also spread to Brighton-Le-Sandsmarker, where police wearing riot gear sectioned off Bay Street in a confrontation with a crowd of people of Mediterranean appearance. The violence then spread to Ashfieldmarker in Sydney's Inner West, as well as suburbs in South Western Sydney, with outbreaks in Bankstownmarker and Punchbowlmarker.

Police said 16 people had been arrested and charged with 512 offences. Those charged were from Mortdalemarker, Cronulla, Bondi Junctionmarker, Kareelamarker, Granvillemarker, Lugarnomarker, Greenacremarker, Mascotmarker, Northmeadmarker, Jannalimarker, Sutherlandmarker and Riverwoodmarker. Offences included malicious damage, resisting police, hindering police, assaulting police, resisting arrest, possessing prohibited drugs, behaving in an offensive manner, threatening violence, affray, possession of a knife in a public place and driving in a dangerous manner. All of those charged were men between 17 and 40 years of age.

12 December

On 12 December 2005, political, community and religious leaders condemned the violence. Some politicians and other leaders have alluded to underlying racism within Australian society, whilst others have condemned the violence as "thuggish", criminal and alcohol-fuelled behaviour. Ken Moroney, Police Commissioner of New South Wales, told The Sydney Morning Herald that he was ashamed at the "mob mentality" of the rally. He further elaborated: "The other equally offensive conduct today, the absolutely total un-Australian conduct today, was an attack on an ambulance. That has brought a higher level of shame to those involved in that level of attack and they deserve to be condemned in the highest possible terms."

Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, stated that the violence was "bound to happen" because of racist rhetoric on Sydney talk radio throughout the week.

Prime Minister Howard condemned the riots, describing the violence as "sickening", adding however that he did not believe racism to be widespread in Australia. Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley described the events as "simply criminal behaviour, that's all there is to it".On 12 December a police strike force was established to track down those responsible for the riots using video and photo evidence. The New South Wales State Parliament was recalled by the Premier on 15 December, to increase police powers in regard to the riots. The new powers may include the closing of alcohol outlets and the confiscation of motor vehicles.

On 12 December, there were initially reports of new text messages circulating, leading to concern over fresh violence at Cronulla. Various news outlets later reported around eight hundred people gathering outside Sydney's Lakembamarker mosque that night. Residents claimed they were there to defend the Mosque against attacks from Southern gangs, as had been threatened by the white demonstrators. The crowd had started to disperse at 9:30 p.m. but the Seven Network reported that some then packed into dozens of cars, travelling in convoys towards Sydney's southern district, while sporadically assaulting people and vandalising cars and property in Bexleymarker and various other suburbs on their way. The same network also reported that a leaked police incident report believed to relate to Punchbowl Park, the staging point of the convoys, stated that officers received directions "not to enter the area and antagonise these persons".

An audio file recorded from the Sydney Police's radio reported further violence on the night of 12 December, with residents of Cronulla reporting that cars full of Middle Eastern men had driven into the area.

According to a report which appeared in the 22 January edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, one of the Cronulla residents was saved by the actions of a 24-year-old junior rugby league coach Ahmed Jajieh. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Jajieh had been among the people assembled outside the Lakemba mosque in order to protect it from the expected attack. After the threats were not realised, he reported trying to dissuade a group from moving on to Cronulla to execute reprisal attacks, in which he was unsuccessful. He later set off for Cronulla himself, " make sure nothing happened", where he came across a local man under assault by a group of up to thirty young men. In security camera footage later released by police to the media, he is seen confronting and warding off the assault. The victim sustained minor injuries including a hairline fracture of the arm.


The Sydney Morning Herald reported a retaliatory attack in which a 26-year-old man and two females were approached by two carloads of young men of Middle Eastern appearance who threatened the females with sexual assault at the nearby Sydney suburb of Woolooware. The man was stabbed five times after four men leapt from a car outside Woolooware Golf Club. The man stated to The Herald, "I was knocked to the ground - there was one on either side of my head kicking my head. It wasn't until I stood up and felt blood running down my back that I knew something was wrong. I felt up my back and I knew something was in there - I asked my friend if it was a knife or glass and he said it was a knife." Police said the 9.8 centimetre blade had snapped off after the man had been stabbed three times in the back and twice in the thigh.

The Sydney Morning Herald stated that on 29 June 2006, Yahya Jamal Serhan, appeared in Bankstown Local Court charged with affray and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm upon a man known only as "Dan", who was walking from Woolooware Golf Club with a friend and two women. In court, New South Wales Police said Dan stopped to protect the women when the men ran shouting: "Get the Aussie dogs … get the Aussie sluts". Sergeant Eurell in court said: "This was a joint criminal enterprise by members of a group of males who engaged in an unprovoked, racially motivated, premeditated attack".-- An AAP report carried in The Herald stated that a 17-year-old man of Middle Eastern appearance was arrested on 12 July 2006 over the retaliatory attack in which a man was, "pushed to the ground, kicked and punched, and stabbed three times in the back and twice in the left thigh - one knife wound was just two millimetres from his lung - the attack ended when the 9.8 centimetre blade snapped in the [victim]'s back".

Another Herald report stated that a woman and her husband were driving along Canterbury Road on the night of 12 December, when they encountered carloads of men with Lebanese flags hanging out the windows and heard one man screaming, "Do it for Allah!"

At the same time, further carloads of young Middle Eastern men made their way to Maroubra, organised again by the circulation of SMS text messages. Armed with baseball bats, crowbars and bricks, they vandalised private property (including over 100 cars) throughout streets of Maroubra. Many residents took refuge in their homes, while others who tried to confront the gangs were attacked. A 22-year-old man was injured during the unrest, as he was bashed by baseball-bat wielding youths, who attacked his car.

The SMH stated that an Australian man, Jake Schofield, was attacked by four Middle Eastern men on 11 Dec. 'All four men jumped from the car, stabbing J two times, striking J with a lump of concrete, and stomping on his head and body several times before stealing his phone and keys - J suffered serious injuries, including a fractured eye socket and nose, and two stab wounds. Two Middle Eastern youths were charged with armed robbery in company with wounding, malicious wounding with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray. The two men to be charged, Wael Tahan and Mahmoud Eid, both 19, were allegedly among a group of men who jumped out of a car to attack a man with concrete blocks and stomp on his head - the men were on bail at the time of the alleged attack of Mr Schofield, accused of separate assaults.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported that a Middle Eastern youth, "fuelled by racial hatred of Australians", assaulted a man with a pole during a revenge attack. Magistrate Paul Falzon said the Middle Eastern youth had screamed "fucking Aussie" as he used a pole to attack the driver of a car in Carlton on the 12th of December. The driver suffered cuts to his arm before driving off. The Middle Eastern youth was travelling with two co-accused when they stopped their car next to another and asked the driver about his nationality. Magistrate Falzon in court stated, "The facts in this case, if founded, fit squarely in the racial vilification category by the query "what nationality are you?" In my opinion it appears to be violence fuelled by racists' ideation".

The SMH stated that late on the evening of 12 December, carloads of Middle Eastern men began arriving at Punchbowl Park - "more than a hundred men had armed themselves with guns, machetes, baseball bats, knives, chains and iron bars ... before departing they left their reasons written on the street, 'AUSSI TO DIE', 'INTIFADA', 'IT'S WAR', 'NEVER REST ASSIE DOG', 'YOUS CAME BY CHAINS U CONVICT DOGS', 'WE FEAR NO OZY PIGS' ... slogans identified the authors as being 'Leb' or 'Lebanese' ... There were also a number of crude Lebanese flags drawn on the roadway ... the next three hours, across Cronulla, Maroubra and Brighton-le-Sands, between one and two hundred young Lebanese men smashed scores of cars, stabbed or bashed several people and threatened a number of women with rape."

The Herald reported that Jeffrey Ismail appeared in Bankstown Local Court accused of sending text messages that incited violence in reprisal for racial attacks on the beachfront against people of Middle Eastern extraction earlier.

At Maroubra, police said they found a stockpile of 30 Molotov cocktails and crates of rocks stockpiled on rooftops, as hundreds of local surfers gathered. Weapons such as iron bars, baseball bats, knives and even firearms are being found and confiscated.

Morris Iemma, Premier of New South Wales, announced on 13 December that police will be given "lockdown" powers which would allow them to prohibit entry into specified areas. Referring to vigilantes, Mr Iemma said, "These criminals have declared war on our society and we are not going to let them win... You will not take control of our streets". Police said this kind of unrest was unprecedented in Australia. The Australian media reported that mobile telephone text messages were calling for revenge attacks to continue. The messages were being circulated among Australians of both Lebanese and European backgrounds.

14 December

On the morning of 14 December 2005, local media reported that SMS text messages inciting further riots were being sent to mobile users in other states including Victoriamarker and Queensland.

At the carols service at St Joseph the Worker Primary School in Auburnmarker, drive-by shots were fired into cars and parents and primary school students were verbally abused by men described as Middle Eastern. Furthermore, a total of four Churches in Sydney's South-West were attacked during the evening. The Uniting Church hall in Auburn, which is next to an Islamic centre, was set ablaze about 1.30 a.m. (AEDT) on 15 December. Premier Iemma stated that "it may be" linked to the ongoing riots.


NSW Opposition

New South Wales Opposition Leader Peter Debnam promised to round up if elected in the 2007 New South Wales election (which he subsequently lost) the "200 Middle Eastern thugs" he said were still on the streets of Sydney. He added that "At dawn … on the 25th of March, my instruction to the police commissioner will be to take as many police as you need and charge them with anything to get them off the streets." "Four million people in the metropolitan area have been terrorised by these [Middle Eastern] thugs for a decade". This drew criticism from New South Wales police, including Assistant Commissioner Graeme Morgan, who said: "Fortunately we live in a society that is guided by the rule of law... People are not arrested until there's a reasonable cause for their arrest. There are no arbitrary or capricious actions taken".


Police Commissioners and Authorities expected violence to again continue as signs of more retaliation and revenge were discovered, such as inflammatory SMS messages being sent, youths gathering in cars and on streets and hidden stockpiles of weapons being found.

Amidst fears of a third night of violence, perhaps continuing for the entire week, 450 police officers were deployed in Sydney's suburbs, ready to respond to any violent youths or gangs. The New South Wales Deputy Commissioner of Police Andrew Scipione said that while they had no specific intelligence, police expected more unrest. He also said that if needed he would seek assistance from police in other states, for extra resources and manpower.

Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said there had been a "welcome respite" last night from the violence of past days. But he said police would not be dropping their guard, with 450 officers on the streets of Sydney on the 15 December and 16, and numbers are likely to rise on the weekend as well. "I'd say this is the first time we've ever encountered this kind of phenomena anywhere in Australia," Mr Scipione said. "We'll look at it with a view of saying what is it that we can draw from the new powers that will allow us to be safe?" But he said police would have sufficient resources to cope with any more flare-ups at Sydney's eastern and southern beaches.

Political and community leaders

The sitting Prime Minister, John Howard, denied that the riots were an example of tribalism, citing a combination of a large number of people and a large amount of alcohol as the pre-eminent reason for the unprecedented violence.

Many political spokesmen and analysts, such as New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma, Professor Michael Cyline and leaders of Islamic communities such as Keysar Trad, expressed fears that further violence would occur, fuelled by ongoing racial or ethnic tensions.

They perceived this state of conflict as a result of the years of brooding disagreements and hatred between the two main ethnic groups involved in these incidents: White Australians, on the one hand, and Middle Eastern Australians on the other. In the years after the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York City, many had felt the sense of fear created by terrorism had only heightened public awareness of Arab Australian communities in Sydney and their ongoing differences with non-Muslim Australians.

Several Muslim women's groups made calls for a voluntary curfew on Middle Eastern youths, requesting parents to keep their children at home over the weekend after the mob violence. They also urged parents to confiscate mobile telephones and car keys, in an attempt to forestall further aggression and retaliatory attacks. Similar sentiments were expressed by the Assistant Police Commissioner, Mark Goodwin, who said "I urge community leaders to continue dialogue in an effort to defuse the aggression."

Jack Passaris, Chair of the Ethnic Communities' Council of New South Wales, the peak representative body of the State's ethnic groups, called for an urgent review of the racial-vilification laws in light of the race riots. "We would urge the government to introduce laws which would make the intentional incitement of racial hatred into a criminal offence", he said.

In a speech made on 15 December, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma also described the intentions and action plans for increased police coverage to be put into effect. "Special attention will be paid to places of worship, our churches and our schools," he said. Premier Iemma warned that a 500-strong Anti-Riot Squad would be out in force over the summer as a precaution to any further disturbances.

The Premier also foreshadowed that a draft of a bill had been prepared, which was intended to provide special and augmented powers to police, to be used in the case of continuing violence. These proposed laws were to contain a sunset clause of two years, he said. Mr Iemma also welcomed the "swift justice" and the four-month jail term which had already been handed down in the case of one man who had been arrested and convicted of a charge arising from the recent violence.

Surfer Nathan Rogers, from Maroubra's notorious "Bra Boys" gang, said: "The beaches are not anyone's turf, they should be open to everyone, no matter of ethnic background." Similar "peace talks" between Muslim leaders and surfers were held at Cronulla on the evening of 14 December.

Brian Wilshire, host of an evening talkback radio program on Radio 2GB, sparked further controversy for labelling people of Lebanese descent "inbred".

Following widespread condemnation, including by Premier Iemma, Wilshire has since apologised for his comments.

Melbourne anti-racism rally

At 5:00 p.m. on 16 December 2005 at Melbourne's Bourke Streetmarker Mall there was a large anti-racism rally to protest against the riots, though organisers also used it as an opportunity to protest other politically-related issues such as the War on Terror and mandatory detention. . The rally attracted about 2000 people.

Brunswick 'stand-up for multicultural communities' rally

At 12:00 noon, on 1 April 2006 at Brunswick'smarker Town Hall, there was a 'stand up for multicultural communities' rally to protest against the riots and the continuing demonisation of certain ethnic minorities by the Howard Government. After some speeches, including one by the Mayor of Moreland City Council, the rally marched up Sydney Road to for about 1.5 km to Albion St.

Response from rioters

Speaking on the ABCmarker's Four Corners, several youths engaged in the race riots spoke openly about their motivations behind the attacks. While one youth expressed his regret for the "people that got taken out that day", another explained that he wanted "this government to stop the growing threat. And I want them to stop appeasing Islam. And to stop appeasing people that follow Islam." Another added, "They will probably, like, possibly out-breed us. And once they get the numbers, they can vote their members into parliament. And once their members are in parliament, they can pass laws, like, they've already tried to get the Islamic law into Australia a few times." When asked by host Liz Jackson whether Australia could become an Islamic state, they replied, "Yeah, definitely."

Responses from the Lebanese side were mixed, with one youth stating "I'm against innocent people getting hit" whereas another interviewee, Ali, when questioned about his role in the riots, replied "No, I don't feel bad."

SMS messages and email

Authorities and police have taken the new rounds of circulating SMS messages throughout Middle-Eastern as well as white communities and youths seriously, as signs of potential further violence . Police said they had been investigating text messages inciting racial violence in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australiamarker and Western Australia.

Of special note is that in the case of the Cronulla riots, these messages were broadcast nationally, in prime time, uncensored, showing the location and date of the proposed riot days in advance, by the Nine Network's A Current Affair. Alan Jones, the host of a popular morning talkback radio show on Sydney station 2GB used his breakfast radio programme to read out and discuss a widely circulated text message calling on people to "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge... get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day".

SMS messages were widely circulated in response to these attacks, calling for "anti-racism" protests in Melbourne and other cities on Friday 16 December and 18 December. Further messages from both groups (Middle Eastern and white Australians) of the violence in Sydney called for large-scale protests the following Sunday, police said, much the same way text messages had originally been used to incite mob violence in Cronulla.

Board game

The disturbance prompted the anonymous production of a Monopoly-style board game. The board game was produced as an electronic file and made available from free web hosts.Since the Cronulla board game was removed from hosting service Angelfire, the game has now since showed up on a right-wing website called Downunder Newslinks.

Economic impacts

Many of the small businesses in the affected areas (particularly in the beachside suburbs) reported a significant downturn in trade since the main incident of 11 December, with losses of anticipated earnings down by up to 90% at what would ordinarily be a busy time of the year. A significant downturn in the number of beach visitors over the weekend of 17-18 December was reported as far away as Terrigalmarker on the Central Coastmarker. The head of the Tourism and Transport Forum indicated on 19 December that there had already been layoffs of employees working in the tourism and hospitality industries in Cronulla, and the chief executive of the State Chamber of Commerce, Margy Osmond, was quoted as saying "If the violence continues there is the potential it could even force some businesses to close down and significantly damage our reputation as a tourist destination among both domestic and international visitors".On the 22 December the BBC reported that some beach-side businesses reported a slump in takings by up to 75% since the unrest, and that the New South Wales state government had announced an AU$250,000 (US$183,000, €150000) campaign to bring tourists back to Sydney's beaches, including advertisements featuring well known sports stars, assuring tourists that it was safe to visit the area. Authorities in Britain, Canada and Indonesia issued warnings to their citizens to be on guard for possible continuing racial violence.


Following the incident, police conducted extensive investigations to identify and prosecute people who took part in the riots.

Ali Osman, from Bankstownmarker, was charged with affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm by the Sutherlandmarker Local Court on 29 September 2006 to which he pleaded not guilty. He claimed that he told police he witnessed a fight between Lebanese men and lifesavers and had tried to break it up . His lawyer argued that a photograph of Osman lying on the beach minutes after the incident proved he was not involved and that the case had been one of mistaken identity.

Osman faced a maximum of two years in jail, but was instead sentenced to 300 hours community service on a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and 200 hours for the charge of affray, with the sentences to be served concurrently.

New South Wales Opposition Leader Peter Debnam criticised the lenient sentence, stating that 'it sends a very strong message to young thugs in NSW that any violence will be tolerated in this state.' NSW Police Minister Carl Scully also expressed his disapproval, describing the Court's verdict as "disgusting".

Marcus Kapitza was sentenced to 12 months jail after pleading guilty to one charge of riot.

Brent Lohman was sentenced to 11 months jail with a parole period of six months for repeatedly punching a man of Middle Eastern appearance in the head at Cronulla railway station.

Yahya Serhan was convicted of one count of being an accessory after the fact of malicious wounding over an attack outside Wooloowaremarker Golf Club in Sydney's southeast on 11 December 2005, that ended when a knife snapped off in the victim's back. Serhan had acted as the "getaway driver" during the attack and was convicted in April 2007 to which he was sentenced to thirteen months jail with a non-parole period of nine months. However, he was released on the day of his sentencing as he had already spent nine months in prison.

See also


  1. Hazzard report 2006: "Strike Force Neil, Cronulla riots", New South Wales Police Service, Sydney.
  2. "Police tough on both sides of Cronulla riots", Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2006
  3. "Police to Debnam - thug plan not arresting", Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2006
  4. The Age - Riots? What riots? Still relaxed and comfortable
  5. Union Solidarity: Network
  6. Riot spark "Betrays migrants"
  7. Scully 'disgusted' by Cronulla lifeguard attack sentence
  8. "Cronulla riot thug locked away", Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2006
  9. "Teenager sentenced to jail for role in Cronulla riots", ABC News Online, 15 March 2007
  10. Man walks free in riot reprisal case
  11. Cronulla reprisal driver released and convicted

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