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Australia to ban Nazi hate symbols swastika, SS to curb far-right activism

Australia to ban Nazi hate symbols swastika, SS to curb far-right activism

Canberra: Australia announced on Thursday that the government will introduce legislation next week to criminalise public displays and sales of Nazi hate symbols citing a rise in far-right activities.

The swastika, one of the most recognisable symbols of Nazi propaganda, and the insignia of Schutzstaffel (SS), the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party, will be outlawed to be used as flags and armbands or printed on clothes, reported Reuters.

"We've seen, very sadly, a rise in people displaying these vile symbols, which are symbols that have no place in Australia, they should be repugnant," Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.

"Regrettably, we have seen violence associated with some of the public events that these people have put on”, he added.

Australia's spy agency has been warning far-right groups were on the rise in Australia and that they had become more organised and visible, reported Reuters.

Under Australia's Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill, anyone caught breaching the new laws could face up to 12 months in jail, reports Xinhua news agency.

The ban includes but is not limited to, the trade and public display of flags, armbands, t-shirts, insignia and the publication of symbols online promoting Nazi ideology. There will, however, be exemptions for artistic, academic or religious use of swastikas, which has a spiritual significance in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

Dreyfus said there was been a rise in the public display of these symbols and tackling far-right violent extremism is a priority for the Australian government.

In March, a group of neo-Nazis clashed with transgender rights protesters in Melbourne and was seen raising their arms in a Nazi salute near the state parliament building. Last year, a soccer fan who gave the salute at the Australia Cup final was banned for life from any games sanctioned by Football Australia, reports Reuters.

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TAGS:NaziSwastikaSSFar-rightHate symbolsAustralia
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