Oz Muslims tip off police over radical Islamist text messages
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Members of the Muslim community in Australia's New South Wales tipped off police that radical Islamists were sending "inflammatory text messages" seeking support for a protest over a video deemed offensive to Islam.
The rally outside the US Consulate in Martin Place in Sydney on Saturday turned violent leaving two police officers and 17 others injured, according Sydney Morning Herald report.
The paper said that Muslim community tipped off police that inflammatory text messages were going around that were sent by radical Islamists ahead of Saturday's rally.
Six men have been arrested following the weekend clashes that took place between the demonstrators and police.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione today said that members of the specially formed Strike Force McAllister were making quick progress in hunting down those responsible for spreading the message, which urged people to join the protest because "we must act now" to "defend (the prophet's) honour".
He said while police had been unaware of the planned time for the demonstration, they were on notice that something was set to occur, courtesy of the messages being forwarded.
"Many of them were sent to us by people within the community who were outraged by what they were receiving on their SMS system or on their Facebook page and so they brought them to our attention," Scipione told reporters.
He said officers would similarly be on standby and ready to respond to any further protests by extremist groups.
A report in 'The Australian' newspaper claimed that al-Qaeda supporters were among those involved in violent weekend protests in Sydney.
Several demonstrators marched through the city carrying the black flags, it said, adding protesters were wearing headbands which read: "We are your soldiers, O Mohammed."
Meanwhile, US ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich thanked police for protecting the embassy on Saturday and said it was "business as usual" today. "I was particularly heartened by the overwhelming outpouring of support that came for America in the aftermath."