Members of an encrypted messaging app group used by XYZ, an online publication that shares neo-Nazi content, have appeared to celebrate a hit-and-run at a COVID testing site in Collingwood.
Emergency services were called to the site at 9:25am after reports a white Holden station wagon hit a clinic worker and then fled the scene. A man in his 50s was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police later located the vehicle and arrested a male they allege was the driver at an address in Carlton.
It was the first of two incidents of aggression reported to police at Victorian COVID-19 testing sites on the day. The second was reported in Pakenham and did not result in injury.
In its news article, XYZ writer and alleged member of neo-Nazi groups David Hiscox wrote that it was “not known” whether there was a political motive for the incident.
After the article was shared to Telegram, a social media haven for right-wing extremists, members responded pretty damn positively to the news.
Some of the first comments included “LETS FUCKING GOOOOO”, “Nice” and the applause emoji.
Others leant into the conspiracy theory vibe and suggest the hit-and-run was an inside job, likening it to the conspiracy theory that positions the 1996 Port Arthur massacre as a set-up. In reality, a 28-year-old Tasmanian man Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and in response the Australian government introduced gun control.
“If they can pull off Port Arthur, they can do something similar,” one member wrote.
“Who really did Christchurch!” another wrote.
XYZ regularly promotes anti-government views, calling Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews a dictator and referring to hotel quarantine facilities as gulags —a Soviet labour camp. Its articles have been cited and shared by organisational members of Melbourne’s antivax protests, something commenters also promoted.
One wrote: “Really… I dont have any sympathy for anyone who is upholding this bullshit”.
“I got the vaccine card for my family without getting vaccinated. Message me if interested We must win the Fight,” another said.
As of midday Friday, the article had tallied close to 2,500 views on Telegram.