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Australian PM's nephew fined for anti-racism protest

Nephew of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was fined for "inciting a riot" on Tuesday while protesting against racial attacks on Indians in the country.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2010 00:58 IST

Nephew of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was fined for "inciting a riot" on Tuesday while protesting against racial attacks on Indians in the country.

Van Thanh Rudd along with an activist of the Revolutionary Socialist Party was taken away in a police van after he dressed in Ku Klux Klan attire and protested outside the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne.

Rudd said Tuesday's protest was aimed at recent attacks on Indian nationals and the federal government's support for "genocidal regimes".

"Australia funds the genocidal Sri Lankan regime and then rejects the refugees who flee. In this country you could not get away with doing that against whites. So, they're the basic reasons we're having the protest today," Rudd was quoted by ABC radio as saying.

Van Thanh Rudd, an outspoken artist, said he chose Melbourne Park for the protest because it gets significant attention on Australia Day.

James Crafti, a fellow member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, said there was "absolutely no struggle" from the protesters. "But they have been told they will be receiving fines of $200 for supposedly inciting a riot".

"From our end, there was no confrontation, all we had was a few people with no power whatsoever, using the only power we've got, which is our voices and our visual ability to display ourselves," Crafti said, adding that the protesters were simply practicing free speech like other Australians.

"There were two people holding costumes and several others of us who were holding signs," he said.

"We've got people around the streets of Melbourne today waving around Australian flags, waving patriotic symbols. If you want to talk about inciting, that sort of thing would incite indigenous people and make a lot of people upset," he added.

However, Crafti said, Van Thanh Rudd has not been in regular contact with his uncle.

"They're not estranged in any sense, but Van is very much his own person and has very different views in terms of the racism of this country," he said.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said his nephew's protest "is a matter for the people involved".