While the Australian Freedom rides drew their inspiration from the US Civil Rights Movement, the immediate precursor to the Freedom Rides was a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Sydney.
On May 6, 1964, students burned a fiery cross, the symbol of the U.S. based racist organisation, the Ku Klux Klan, outside the Consulate in protest.
Some were dressed in white sheets and hoods, in the style of the Ku Klux Klan. The demonstration was in protest against attempts by Senators from the southern U.S. states to block the Civil Rights Bill initiated by President Kennedy and pursued by President Johnson.
More than fifty were arrested, including a TV cameraman. Police removed their identification numbers, and used an extraordinary amount of force against what had been a (literally) fiery, but essentially peaceful, demonstration.
Picture - Detective Sergeant Barry Maloney demonstrates arrest technique