Reuters International

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A 31-year-old man appeared in an Australian court on Sunday charged with planning a terror attack, following a series of counter-terrorism police raids.

Phillip Galea was charged with acts done in preparation for a terrorist act and collecting or making documents likely to facilitate a terrorist act, after being arrested in police raids in Melbourne on Saturday. Police did not give details of the target but said it was in the southern state of Victoria.

"I will be fighting these charges and I believe they are a conspiracy against the patriot movement," Galea told a Melbourne Magistrates' Court hearing during in a brief appearance on Sunday according to the Australian Associated Press.

Australian media outlets reported Galea had links to far-right organisations Reclaim Australia and True Blue Crew. Reclaim Australia posted on Facebook that it had no links to the arrested man and that it "always denounced violence".

Far-right political parties opposed to Islam and Asian immigration are on the rise in Australia.

Reclaim Australia and True Blue Crew, which are not political parties, have previously been involved in violent clashes with pro-immigration groups at rallies in Melbourne..

(Reporting by Jarni Blakkarly; Editing by Michael Perry)

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