A MAN was attacked outside Albury’s abortion clinic while praying yesterday.
The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants protester, 68, a retired farmer and Vietnam war veteran, was assaulted by a passer-by about 1pm.
A Barooga man, 32, ripped up signage from outside the Englehardt Street clinic and used offensive language when he was told to move on by the victim.
The man then punched the victim, causing him to fall to the ground.
He was taken to hospital where he was treated for minor abrasions.
Anna Von Marburg, of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants group, said she had never witnessed violence of this kind.
“It took my breath away,” she said.
“Everybody was in shock — even the people who protest against us.
“We all just kind of united.”
Mrs Von Marburg said she could not speak for other protesters but the attack would not deter her from praying outside the clinic in the future.
“I know there will still be many people who go there and pray,” she said.
The pro-life protester believed the incident was a result of a social media campaign “based on lies”.
“We are a peaceful group but I think a social media campaign encourages people,” Mrs Von Marburg said.
“He (the victim) is a very gentle man.”
The group has protested outside the clinic for the past five years.
Mrs Von Marburg said there had never been an incident this severe.
Rights to Privacy campaigner Pieter Mourik said the group did not condone violence but was not surprised by the attack.
“I twice warned police, two years ago and a year ago, that I was afraid there would be a violent act against the protesters because they engender such high emotion,” he said.
“I don’t condone the violence at all but the only way the protesters are going to avoid violence is by staying away or even moving 50 metres away.”
Albury police arrested the attacker yesterday afternoon and he will face Albury Local Court for occasioning bodily harm.