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Indian students allege Lebanese students attack them

June 11, 2009 22:33 IST
Indian students on Thursday alleged that Lebanese youths were behind the racially-motivated attacks on them in Australia as they took to the streets for the third consecutive night protesting against racial attacks.

The spate of racial attacks against Indians spread to Sydney after members of the community were targeted in Melbourne. Scores of Indian students on Wednesday night took to the streets of Harris Park in Sydney for the third consecutive night to protest racially-motivated against them by Lebanese youths.

The protesters alleged that police were ignoring their pleas for protection. The protests came a day after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned Indian students against "vigilante action" to prevent attacks against them.

Indian protesters continue to say that they were being attacked by Lebanese youths. A man, who took part in the protest, was issued with a court notice for carrying an 'offensive' weapon after being allegedly found with a piece of timber during a police search.

Meanwhile, Parramatta city council held a meeting with police, India's Consul General and members of Sydney's Indian community, with organisers saying students had agreed to stop protest rallies.

Yadu Singh, coordinator of the Indian Consul General's community committee on Indian students' issues, said the meeting ended with calls for an end to the protests.

"One thing is clear - the rallies have served their purpose and we don't want any more rallies in Harris Park, that is the community's view," Singh said, adding, "They are disrupting the normal life of the people in the suburbs."

Singh said students present at the meeting had agreed to pass on the request to other protesters. Rudd had on Wednesday said while violence in all Australian cities was "a regrettable part" of urban life, vigilante action was equally unwelcome.

Earlier on Tuesday night, over 70 Indian men had gathered at same place after rumours of a man being killed in an attack and assault on an Indian cleaner in Warwick Farm.

The police arrested two men during the protest. One was charged with carrying a weapon, a metal pole, while the other was released without charge, a police statement said.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday said that violent attacks on Indian students in the country were extremely concerning. "Whatever their cause, the crimes against students were extremely concerning," Gillard said.

"I think it would break the heart of any Australian to see an Indian student who has come to this country to get a good education the subject of a violent attack," she was quoted as saying by media reports.

Natasha Chaku in Sydney
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