Victoria Police had been reasoning with left-wing counter-protesters to try to move them on, but organisers refused to leave before Reclaim Australia campaigners, Herald Sun reports.
“We’re not moving until they’re gone,” Socialist Party organiser Mel Gregson said.
At least two people were treated by paramedics in competing clashes between Reclaim Australia and No Room for Racism groups.
More than 100 police officers were forced to form a line of bodies to separate the two groups as tempers flared earlier.
Eleven mounted police were also used to hold the crowds apart in Flinders St, as scuffles broke out across the square.
Several protesters tried to break the police line, and at least two man were heavily restrained by the police.
One policeman confiscated a long piece of wood from someone at the rally.
A Reclaim Australia supporter scuffled with a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing socialist protester.
Ambulance Victoria spokesman Paul Bentley said a man in his 30s was treated for a cut eye, while another man in his 60s was treated for chest pain, about noon.
Reclaim Australia members were protesting against the rise of Islamic extremism and sharia law in Australia.
Their speeches included an address by proclaimed “human rights expert” Daniel Nalliah.
The group’s numbers grew significantly throughout the rally, but they were still outnumbered by socialist counter-demonstrators.
The Reclaim members sang renditions of Advance Australia Fair and yelled “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”, but the left-wing protesters’ chants of “immigrants are welcome, racists are not” could also be heard throughout the CBD.
It came amid reports the Reclaim Australia Twitter account may have been hacked.
Police formed a corridor to corral Reclaim Australia supporters through the angry crowds.
But counter-demonstrators tried to slow the exit, hurling abuse as the Reclaim attendees move through the throng.
Reclaim Australia supporters then stopped trying to leave, instead returning to chant at the top of Federation Square outside ACMI.
Mounted police forced a line and advanced on socialist counter-demonstrators to move them back.
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