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Australian charged with sending text messages to incite riot

[JURIST] Australian police have arrested a 33-year-old man for using text messages to incite rioting a week after race riots broke out in Sydney [JURIST report] involving 5,000 people, mostly white men and youths, attacking Muslim residents on local beaches. Wednesday's arrest marks the first instance someone has been charged with such an offense. The man allegedly forwarded two text messages repeatedly to other phones requesting that others meet him at the beach. He was charged [AAP report] with "using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offense," a crime whose enforcement was strengthened by legislation [JURIST report; PDF text] passed last week in response to the attacks. Under the new laws, police are permitted to seize mobile phones, ban alcohol, set up roadblocks and search vehicles to prevent or control public disorder. From Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald has local coverage.

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