Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Indian protest turns into 'vigilante' attack

SYDNEY (AFP) — A protest involving hundreds of Indian students turned into a "vigilante" attack in Australia's biggest city overnight, in the latest flare-up in racial tensions in recent weeks, police said Tuesday.

Police were forced to call in the dog squad to control the rowdy crowd in Sydney's west, prompting India's foreign minister to urge students in Australia to stay calm in the face of a recent wave of assaults.

Police said a group wielding sticks and baseball bats attacked men of "Middle Eastern appearance" in apparent retaliation for an earlier assault on an Indian man.

It was believed to be the first time Indian students had reacted violently to a series of attacks on them in Australia which has caused outrage on the subcontinent and strained diplomatic ties between Canberra and New Delhi.

The students gathered after an Indian in his early 20s was attacked by a group of Middle Eastern descent, according to police.

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