RSL: Despite terror threat, more people expected in Sydney for Anzac DayWeekend raids raise questions about counter-terrorism laws
Security will be significantly beefed up in Victoria on Anzac Day after an “ISIS-inspired” terror plot was intercepted by police.
More police officers, a highly visible security presence and additional barricades for the Anzac Day March will be put in place after five men were arrested following pre-dawn raids on Saturday over a plan to attack police during commemorations.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the foiled attack was another shocking reminder of the threat that comes from violent extremism, while police conceded they could not be certain the plan was limited to Anzac Day alone.
Mr Andrews said that while Victorians had the right to be alarmed, authorities would do everything possible to ensure the community remained safe – including stepping up security even further in coming days, if necessary.
He also spent Saturday briefing Islamic and Jewish leaders, as well as the head of the RSL and authorities at the Shrine to reassure them that adequate measures would be taken.
“There will be a significantly increased visible police presence for Anzac Day. That’s not just the march and activities at the Shrine; there will be further operational decisions which I won’t go into, but there will be proper arrangements put in place and extra resources applied in lots of different locations,” the Premier said.
“Given these warrants have only been executed overnight we may go even further in coming days.”
About 200 Australian Federal Police and Victorian Police officers were involved in Saturday’s raids, in which seven search warrants were issued on properties in Narre Warren, Hampton Park, Hallam and Eumemmerring.
One man was arrested on weapons offences, two were arrested on terrorism offences for planning the attack, and a further two were in custody assisting police. Police said multiple knives and swords were seized, and three men were taken for medical examination with minor injuries. The group also had links to Abdul Numan Haider, the 18-year-old teen who was shot and killed by counterterrorism police in Endeavour Hills last year.
Anzac Day March chief marshal David Blackwell said the RSL had been in “deep consultation” with Victoria Police for many months about security measures for next week’s event “and adequate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved”.
Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said he was not surprise the plot was Islamic-state inspired, but added: “this is about criminality, not about faith or culture”.
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