Sydney, Australia, Oct 18 (EFE).- The Australian state of Victoria approved a bill to prohibit the Nazi salute and will punish this gesture with prison sentences of up to one year and heavy fines, a measure adopted amid an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the country.
“I wish it were not necessary to enact these new laws, but we will always do what is necessary to combat hate, anti-Semitism and racism,” said the head of the Victorian state government, Jacinta Allan, in a message published last night in X (formerly Twitter.)
The law, which will come into force this weekend, imposes a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison or a fine of AUD23,000 ($14,642), or both, according to the state parliament.
The approval of the law in Victoria, the second most populous state in Australia, comes after it was reported that a group of men dressed in black flashed the Nazi salute at a central train station in the city of Melbourne last weekend.
Likewise, Australian authorities have reported three men for allegedly doing the Nazi salute outside the Jewish Museum in Sydney.
The measures also come after the controversy caused in March, when a group of 20 or 30 people did the Nazi salute in front of the Victoria state parliament, a jurisdiction that in June 2022 was the first to ban the Nazi flag.
Before Victoria, the state of Tasmania already outlawed the Nazi salute, while other regions such as New South Wales, the most populous in Australia, and several jurisdictions in the oceanic country banned or are on the way to outlawing Nazi symbols, crimes punished with heavy fines and prison sentences.
In the country, exceptions apply regarding the display of the swastika in educational, artistic, scientific, academic or religious contexts.
For its part, in June, the Australian government presented a bill to ban Nazi symbols throughout the country, although it does not include the salute. EFE