Victorian police considering face mask ban

VICTORIAN police are considering calling for a ban on face masks at protests after a Coburg anti-racism rally turned violent on the weekend.

Members of the United Patriots Front held a counter-rally with signs such as "No refugees. Our home, our future".

Their leader, Blair Cottrell, said the rally was an "initial success", but then "the police happened".

Seven people were arrested when protesters clashed with each other and police. Five people were charged with rioting, assault and hindering police, and two with carrying weapons.

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville told 3AW radio yesterday she would speak with police Commissioner Graham Ashton about the violence and masks.

"I think that is a really disturbing trend we are seeing in these particular protests," she said.

"This is about people being given a licence when they wear those masks to try and participate in criminal behaviour, because that's what violence and inciting hatred is - it's criminal behaviour."