Arrests over Indian student protests

| 10.06,09. 04:44 AM |

Arrests over Indian student protests


 June 10, 2009 12:59am

INDIAN students have taken to the streets of western Sydney for a second night in protest at a series of attacks they claim are racially motivated.

Two men have been arrested after about 70 people congregated at Harris Park in a protest being monitored by police.

Police were called the spot outside Harris Park train station at about 8.15pm (AEST) yesterday  to control the gathering crowd, and were forced to arrest two men involved in the protest.

They have been taken to Parramatta Police Station, where they are helping police with inquiries, a police spokesman said.

The protest is the second this week, after two Indian men were allegedly assaulted by a group of Lebanese men on Monday night.

The separate assaults sparked an impromptu protest by about 200 Indians later on Monday night, when three Lebanese men were assaulted in a retribution attack.

Despite claims from students that the attacks are racially motivated, authorities say Indians are not the targets of hate crimes.

Politicians, police and Indian community leaders are in agreement there's no evidence Monday's attacks were racially motivated.

However, they admit there's a reluctance among Australia's Indian population to report crimes against them, and Monday's victim did not lodge a complaint with police.

Assistant Police Commissioner Dave Owens said not reporting crimes was common in some communities.

"It's very frustrating because if somebody commits an offence I believe they should be charged and they should be prosecuted before the courts,'' he said.

He said Monday's violence was due to an escalation of events, rather than a race hate crime.


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