Former Redgum frontman John Schumann slams protesters for using I Was Only 19 anthem at anti-Islam rallies

  • Footage has emerged of I Was Only 19 being played at an anti-Islam rally
  • Former Redgum frontman John Schumann condemned the use of his song
  • He said he was 'disappointed' to see it used by Reclaim Australia members
  • Singer said the song was about compassion, tolerance and inclusiveness 

Former Redgum frontman John Schumann has slammed anti-Islam protesters for using his song, I Was Only 19, at one of Saturday's Reclaim Australia rallies.

The songwriter, who penned the 1983 anthem, said the song - like many of his others - was about compassion, tolerance and inclusiveness.

But it has emerged the hit was played at one of the rallies, which aimed to oppose 'sharia law, halal tax and Islamisation'.

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Former Redgum frontman John Schumann (pictured front centre) has slammed protesters for using his song, I Was Only 19 at a Reclaim Australia rally

Former Redgum frontman John Schumann (pictured front centre) has slammed protesters for using his song, I Was Only 19 at a Reclaim Australia rally

A YouTube video shows I Was Only 19 being performed at Reclaim Australia's Gold Coast protest.

Saturday's rallies across the nation erupted into violence when the group's supporters clashed with anti-racism groups.

After footage of Schumann's song being played surfaced, the singer released a statement on Sunday to condemn its use.

He said I Was Only 19 was written to help people understand the plight of Vietnam veterans.

Saturday's Reclaim Australia rallies across the nation erupted into violence when the group's supporters clashed with anti-racism groups

Saturday's Reclaim Australia rallies across the nation erupted into violence when the group's supporters clashed with anti-racism groups

Schumann said his songs were about promoting tolerance, compassion and inclusiveness

Schumann said his songs were about promoting tolerance, compassion and inclusiveness

'I am very, very disappointed to see my work co-opted by what I, at my most charitable, consider to be a very confused "patriotic" movement,' Schumann said.

The song honours all Australians who have put themselves in harm's way for their country, he said.

'It is not to be used to advance ignorance and intolerance, especially as we approach the centenary of Anzac,' Schumann said.

There were several arrests at the rallies, including three in Melbourne where more than 3,000 people clashed in Federation Square and blocked surrounding streets.

Controversial politician Pauline Hanson was on hand at the Brisbane protest at King George Square (pictured)

Controversial politician Pauline Hanson was on hand at the Brisbane protest at King George Square (pictured)

More than 3,000 people clashed in Melbourne's Federation Square (pictured) and blocked surrounding streets

More than 3,000 people clashed in Melbourne's Federation Square (pictured) and blocked surrounding streets

Hundreds of police formed barricades to separate protesters but scuffles still broke out and some people were treated by paramedics for minor injuries.

Earlier on Sunday, federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said there was no excuse for the violence.

'There's no place for violence in any protests or any expressions of freedom of speech,' Mr Shorten told the Nine Network.

He also said any suggestion that Muslims were planning to bring Sharia law to Australia was exaggerated.

'It was 50-60 years ago people said that the Irish Catholics or the Catholics were trying to take over the joint - and that wasn't true either,' Mr Shorten said.

 

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