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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 12:04 GMT
Arms seized in Sydney beach raid
Australian police patrol a beach in Sydney
Extra police were deployed to potential troublespots
Police in Sydney have seized weapons including swords, iron bars and petrol bombs in a major operation to prevent a repeat of last week's racial violence.

Residents largely stayed away from the city's famous beaches, as 2,000 police patrolled the areas in cars, boats, helicopters, on foot and on horseback.

Nearly 60 people have been arrested since Friday, and 100 charges laid.

Thousands of white men attacked people of Arabic and Mediterranean background on Cronulla Beach last Sunday.

The violence was apparently sparked by a recent attack on two lifeguards.

After last Sunday's assaults, groups described by police as having Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance were then involved in two nights of violence and vandalism.

Calm has been restored, but isolated incidents have continued.

No violence

Police on Sunday set up checkpoints around some of the city's favourite beaches, warning they had evidence that further unrest might occur.

At the same time, at least 2,000 people attended an anti-racism rally in the city, some chanting "migrants in, racists out".

As nightfall approached, no violence had been reported.

It has clearly been a weekend like no other in the history of policing in this state
Ken Moroney
NSW police

Many residents stayed away, and the city's usually packed beaches were unusually quiet for a summer weekend.

"Bondi [beach] has never been this quiet. It's sad to see such an icon of Australia not being used," local Dave Byron told the Reuters news agency.

On Sunday, two men were arrested after being caught with bottles of petrol on a bus heading to Bondi Beach.

Five others were held at Brighton-le-Sands in the south of the city, police said, with a drum of petrol in their car and condoms for making petrol bombs.

New South Wales police commissioner Ken Moroney said some of those caught with weapons - including knives and clubs - were from outside Sydney.

"It has clearly been a weekend like no other in the history of policing in this state," Mr Moroney said.

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