‘March for Men’ rally turns violent
SYDNEY Watson regularly preaches to her thousands of social media followers about how Australia is "demonising" men.
And today, the self-described anti-feminist has taken to the streets of Melbourne for her 'March for Men' to show that "men matter too".
More than 700 people said they'd attend the Federation Square event on Facebook with 2600 more interested.
At least two people were reportedly arrested at the protest by the more than 100 police officers in attendance.
Footage from the event shows protesters and police officers shoving each other.
In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed two arrests - a 25-year-old man for wilful damage and a 33-year-old man for riotous behaviour. Neither have been charged.
"Over 270 searches were conducted as part of the police operation and two men will be issued with penalty notices for possess controlled weapon (knife)," a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
"A significant amount of planning was undertaken in relation to the protests with a sufficient and effect number of police deployed.
"Overall the majority of people in attendance at the protests were well behaved."
A counter-protest, called 'Stand up for equality: March against Men's Rights Activists', was also held in the same location, at the same time.
Close to 500 people said they'd attend the counter-protest while 1300 more expressed interest.
Victoria Police promised a heavy presence at the event and warned anyone attending they'll be conducting weapon searches and will immediately eject anyone who hides their face.
Ms Watson, who studied journalism before moving into conservative commentary, regularly posts piece-to-camera videos for her burgeoning YouTube audience.
In a video announcing the march, Ms Watson said the march was not going to be about "vilifying each other".
"As many of you know over the last number of weeks, it's felt like there has been an assault on men collectively. I want Australians to rally together for masculinity for men's rights and just to demonstrate that we know that men matter too.
"The purpose of this rally is not to hate on women, diminish women's rights or make any negative statements about women
"What we're trying to do is show that we care about the men in our lives and the issues that affect them
"This is about men and women standing shoulder to shoulder to show that we're here for each other," she said.
Ms Watson regularly discusses feminism and masculinity on social media.
Via Facebook, the counter-protest's organisers the National Union of Students Women's Department and the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, encouraged people to attend to "publicly maintain a counter-narrative".
"Globally Mens Rights Activists (MRAs) have operated as a gateway drug for the all-right. Their campaigns seek to enforce rigid gender norms, sexist stereotypes and violence toward women," the Facebook event reads.
"In Australia, new groups such as the Proud Boys have been established which celebrate rape and decry women's equality. These are worrying trends."