The scuffle broke out when pro-Chinese demonstrators disrupted the rally by holding up a Chinese flag above the crowd while cheering, effectively drowning out the organizer of the rally.
Here is a video showing a China nationalist attacked an @abcnews journalist in Melbourne during the clash between pro China groups and free HK group demonstration tonight. He escaped after the attacking.@VictoriaPolice should look into it. 今晚墨尔本，小粉红袭击abc记者视频。 pic.twitter.com/VVIBj5VnLa
Police intervened when the pro-Chinese protesters moved towards the pro-Hong Kong area of the rally but at this point, the groups had been scuffling for roughly 40 minutes. Authorities eventually formed a barrier while the two groups returned to their respective sides.
As the evening went on, pro-Hong Kongers were outnumbered by the pro-Chinese protesters who began chanting “one China” in Mandarin and called the opposing side “rubbish.”
Outside State Library of Melbourne, protestors in support of Hong Kong appear heavily outnumbered by loud pro-China counter-protestors, mostly young. Some I ask have come after seeing footage on WeChat. Now seperated by police, shouting slurs and singing patriotic songs. pic.twitter.com/jjKoK1VGhb
According to The Age, one pro-China demonstrator yelled, “if you don’t like it, leave the country.” To which someone yelled back, “we’re in Australia.”
Around 9:30 p.m. police began dispersing groups as most protesters started to leave.
Later in a statement, the Victoria Police said that while no injuries were reported, two men had been interviewed regarding a case of unlawful assault and were eventually released pending summons.
The authorities stated, “We respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully but will not tolerate those who break the law or engage in antisocial or violent behavior.”