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The 2005 Cronulla riots were a series of sectarian clashes and mob violence originating in Cronulla, New South Wales, and spreading, over the next few nights, to additional Sydney suburbs.|
On 4 December, 2005, a group of volunteer surf lifesavers were assaulted by a group of young men of Middle Eastern appearance, with several other violent assaults occurring over the next week. These incidents were widely reported and commented on in Sydney media. An initially peaceful crowd gathered in the morning of Sunday, 11 December, 2005, and, by midday, approximately 5,000 people gathered at Cronulla beach to protest against a recent spate of violence against locals.
However, fuelled by alcohol, the crowd turned to violence when a young man of "Middle Eastern appearance" was spotted on the beach. He was surrounded by a crowd outside a local hotel and attacked. Retaliatory riots also took place that night and on subsequent nights, resulting in extensive property damage and several more assaults, including one stabbing and even some attacks against ambulance and police officers.
The attacks were widely condemned by local, state and federal members of parliament, police, local community leaders, and residents of Cronulla and adjacent areas. A large number of arrests were made over the subsequent months, from both the initial riot on 11 December and the retaliatory riots held over the subsequent nights. The incidents tarnished Australia's international image, with several countries issuing travel warnings.