Catholic students have been attacked by same-sex marriage protesters at the University of Sydney after trying to engage students, one on one, about why it was “ok to vote ‘no'”.
Police had to restrain a protester who lunged at Catholic Chaplaincies team leader Tony Mattar in an attempt to tackle him to the ground.
Mr Mattar, a Lebanese Australian, was also smeared with hummus and opened condoms, while another Catholic was kicked in the shins as he resisted repeated attempts to steal his “It’s ok to vote ‘no'” sign.
Both Catholics were among 15 people who manned an “It’s ok to vote ‘no'” stall that was encircled by protesters around midday.
Mr Mattar was not physically injured during the fracas and managed to keep his composure throughout the three hour pro-same sex marriage protest.
“Today there was no possibility of dialogue; they didn’t allow us to,” Mr Mattar told The Catholic Weekly.
“They overpowered us, so I thought I’m not going to stand down. I’m going to stand peacefully and bear witness.”
Police scuffle at 58m 55s mark
Mainstream media have wrongly reported that the Catholic society was holding a rally, and that the protesters were in their hundreds – there were around 50.
Catholic Society volunteers spoke to many students, one-on-one, without incident before the protestors arrived with sound equipment.
Chants of “bigots” were peppered with derogatory references.
Mr Mattar was also doused in a foreign substance, containing glitter, which was poured on his head and down the back of his shirt.
Catholic society member and President of the Australian Catholic Students Association, Madeline Gilbert, witnessed around an hour and a half of the protest.
She said the intimidatory tactics were commonplace on campus, and that she was unsurprised by the events.
Police confirmed to The Catholic Weekly that they had been called to Camperdown around 12.30 after reports of an altercation.
No arrests were made.