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4 December 2005
Just after 3 pm on Sunday, 4 December 2005, police were called to North Cronulla Beach following a report of an assault on two off-duty surf lifesavers by four members of a group of eight Middle Eastern men. A verbal exchange had taken place after three lifesavers approached a group of four young Lebanese men on Cronulla Beach with both groups accusing the other of staring at them. One of the Lebanese men reportedly responded to the accusations, "I'm allowed to; now **** off and leave our beach", to which a lifesaver responded, "I come down here out of my own spare time to save you ****s from drowning". 
The verbal exchange escalated with one Lebanese youth attempting to defuse the situation. Another then threw a punch, missing, prompting a pushing match that escalated into a fight. One of the lifesavers was badly hurt after falling and striking his head. One of the lifesavers later informed police that the four were part of a group of eight Lebanese that had been on the beach most of the day and that there had been no problems with their prior behaviour. Despite media reports to the contrary, no Middle Eastern men converged on the area and there were no more than the original eight present.
What kind of grubs? Well I'll tell you what kind of grubs this lot were. This lot were Middle Eastern grubs.
— Alan Jones, 5 December 2005, on 2GB radio
One media report stated that there was already tension between the community and Lebanese youths before this event and people, particularly women, claimed to have been harassed, almost daily, by "groups of young Lebanese men" attempting to "pick them up" and describing the women as being "Aussie sluts".
The events were reported widely across the Sydney media, particularly on talkback radio. When a listener, Berta, commented to Alan Jones of Sydney's 2GB Radio that she had heard "really derogatory remarks" aimed at Middle Eastern people, Jones interrupted stating "We don't have Anglo-Saxon kids out there raping women in Western Sydney". Jones also broadcast and endorsed one listener's suggestion that bikie gangs be brought down to Cronulla railway station to deal with "Lebanese thugs" and that the event be televised, arguing that despite their reputation bikie gangs do "a lot of good things". By Thursday, Jones had stirred significant discussion, and stated "I'm the person that's led this charge here. Nobody wanted to know about North Cronulla, now it's gathered to this."
After the riots Jones was found to have breached the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Code of Conduct section 1.3(a), as his comments were "likely to encourage violence or brutality and to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern backgrounds on the basis of ethnicity". In December 2009 the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal found Jones and radio station 2GB guilty of vilifying Lebanese Muslims in earlier 'Cronulla Riot' broadcasts. A fine of $10,000 was imposed.
Police were concerned about the repercussions of these events. Later investigations revealed that over 270,000 individual text messages were transmitted inciting a racially motivated confrontation at North Cronulla Beach the following Saturday.