MILO’s promoters refuse to pay the steep bill issued by the Victorian government to cover police presence in Melbourne following leftist-agitated violence.
On Wednesday, Police Minister Lisa Neville said that MILO’s organizers would be sent a $50,000 bill after hundreds of protesters from the Antifa-aligned group Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) initiated violence against 50 counter-protesters outside the Kensington venue on Monday night.
Neville insisted that it was “routine” for police to bill organizers for events.
Police were deployed in large numbers to subdue the fracas and several of them were injured after leftists pelted them with rocks and other objects.
MILO’s Australian tour promoter and Penthouse publisher Damien Costas called Neville’s demand “political grandstanding from a lame duck politician,” and challenged her to pursue legal action.
“We have not been sent the bill yet, but if we do my message to the minister is simple — ‘sue me,’” Costas said in an exclusive to the Daily Mail, adding that the organizers worked with Victoria police to manage security months before the event.
“She has no idea how much effort went into the policing and security of the event — we worked extensively with Victoria police over several months,” he said. “They knew exactly where Milo would be speaking and where. We helped with intelligence, so they knew exactly what to expect and who would be turning up. To their credit, they did a good job.”
MILO slammed the violence outside the venue.
“There was a lot of kerfuffle out front,” said MILO in an interview with Alan Jones on 2GB Radio on Tuesday. “It was not as the newspapers reported ‘a clash between the far left and far right’ it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech.”
Speaking to News.com.au, Neville was called the police presence was a “waste of police resources,” and insisted that “we’ve got two groups who pretty much set out to cause the harm that they did … try and cause violence and try to get on the TV so police are there to try and protect the general public.”
“The left really showed us who they are. They attack the police, they attacked other people, they attacked journalists — they showed us they are petulant babies,” he said.
Two people were arrested, and five police officers were injured during the skirmish.
Costas stated that the 3,000 attendees of MILO’s Melbourne event were not part of the riots outside.
“The 3000 people who bought tickets went to have a bit of fun, have a laugh and debate a bit of politics at a perfectly legitimate event,” he said. “The people that caused all the trouble did not have tickets. The fact that a minister has come in, after the event, and criticized us is so typical of politicians.”