Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Rockhampton mob ringleader was head of patriots group that posted anti-Islam content

Rockhampton mob ringleader was head of patriots group that posted anti-Islam content


Rockhampton mob ringleader was head of patriots group that posted anti-Islam content

The ringleader of a Rockhampton mob that surrounded the home of an Indigenous teenager on Sunday was previously the national leader of a far-right "patriots" group, which regularly published anti-Islam content online.

Torin O'Brien, a former One Nation candidate, posted the names and photographs of the two Aboriginal young people, believed to be teenagers, on Facebook last week and called for locals to attend their address on Sunday.

About 30 people attended the property, some knocking on windows and calling for the occupants to come outside. One person fled out the back door and was chased by members of the crowd. Police stood guard outside the property after arriving at the home.

Concerns about vigilantism in Queensland are growing amid heightened community sentiment about youth crime.

Media reports about the Sunday incident were largely sympathetic to the group, including one referring to them as "anti-crime crusaders".

Andy Fleming, an antifascist researcher said O'Brien had been the national president of the Patriots Defence League, an anti-Islam group that was deregistered as an incorporated association in 2015 after it was claimed to be a domestic violence group.

The group's Facebook page, dating back to when O'Brien was involved, shows pictures of him wearing clothing with the group's logo.

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