Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Sydney beaches get ready for Christmas influx, despite riots

AGENCIES , SYDNEY

Recent racial violence on Sydney beaches is not expected to deter the thousands of visitors who traditionally swarm to the hot sands for Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations, seaside councils said yesterday.

The temperature is expected to climb to 28oC on Christmas Day in Sydney, where race riots forced the lock-down of several beachside suburbs earlier this month.

Meanwhile, cricket fans in Australia have been threatened with on-the-spot fines and stadium bans in a crackdown on racism, officials said yesterday.

Members of the touring South African cricket team complained of racial abuse during the opening Test in Perth, a week after Sydney was rocked by two nights of racial violence.

Cricket Australia has ordered a review of security arrangements for the second Test, starting in Melbourne on Monday, officials said at a news conference yesterday.

Security guards at the ground will be briefed on racist slurs that are unfamiliar to most people in Australia.

According to local newspapers, the South Africans were called "kaffirs" and "kaffir boeties," derogatory terms for black people and black sympathizers, during the Test in Perth.

Hundreds of police have been deployed to patrol Sydney beaches for most of the summer as a result of the violence on Cronulla Beach on Dec. 11.

Waverley Mayor Mora Main, whose council is responsible for Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach, said Christmas and New Year's Eve events would go ahead as planned.

"Waverley has a wonderfully diverse and tolerant community," Main said in a statement.

"Racism has no place here and I want to encourage people from all areas of Sydney, and all ethnic backgrounds, to enjoy a peaceful festive season at Waverley's beaches," she said.

Bondi Beach, which attracts thousands of backpackers on Christmas Day, will this year again be an alcohol-free zone for safety reasons. In 2003 lifeguards rescued 115 people on Christmas Day at Bondi.

This year, no one will be allowed to consume alcohol on the beaches or in the public parkland around the beaches, particularly on Christmas Day.

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