Culture War on the Beaches

It's a drizzly Tuesday night, and six armed police are manning a checkpoint on one of the main access roads into seaside Cronulla, in Sydney's south. It works like this: an officer waves approaching cars to the side of the road, where an expressionless colleague with a torch takes over: "Hi. How are you? Where are you going?" There's a brief exchange, a license checked, whereupon the driver's either waved on or turned back. Nearly everyone is good-humored–some are clearly pleased to see the police out in force. But the officers are on edge: "We don't know what's going to happen,"...

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