Police have arrested a man, linked to far-right organizations, for preparing to launch a terrorist attack. The man denied the allegations, saying it was a "conspiracy against the patriot movement."
Australian authorities on Sunday charged a 31-year-old man with planning a terrorist attack after his home in Melbourne was raided by police over fears of a "specific threat."
Local media reported the suspect had links to far-right groups, including Reclaim Australia and True Blue Crew. However, Reclaim Australia distanced itself from the man, saying it "denounced violence of any kind."
Police did not confirm whether the man was linked to the anti-Islam Reclaim Australia group, but noted that he had a "number of affiliations to different organizations."
The terror suspect appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Sunday, denying the allegations.
"I will be fighting these charges and I believe they are a conspiracy against the patriot movement," the man said during his court hearing.
Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no evidence of an immediate threat to the community, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"We take the threat of terrorism very seriously," Andrews said. "There is no imminent threat, no threat to safety … coming from the charges that have been laid against this particular person."
The charges come as the Joint Counterterrorism Team launched several raids on Saturday.
Fears of homegrown terrorism prompted Australia to raise its terror threat alert level to high in 2014.
Rallies held by the anti-Islam Reclaim Group have witnessed clashes with counter-demonstrations, most notably in May and June 2016
ls/rc (AFP, Reuters)