People warned off NSW beaches

SYDNEY - People are being warned off some of NSW's most popular beaches ahead of more racial violence tipped for this weekend.

Up to 2000 police officers will be out on the streets today, using tough new laws passed by the NSW parliament this week to crack down on troublemakers.

Warnings of new violence follow a race riot last Sunday in Cronulla, in Sydney's south, retaliatory "smash and bash" attacks elsewhere around the city earlier this week and, since then, a wave of text messages and emails urging further race-based attacks.

NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney yesterday urged people to stay away from beaches in Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Overnight, police arrested 19 people as part of Operation Seta, the new strike force set up this week to crack down on race-related violence.

Police said 23 charges were laid for drink driving, traffic and drug offences and outstanding warrants.

The total number of arrests under the operation now stands at 63, and 101 charges have been laid.

Police have also seized a vehicle at Matraville, in Sydney's south, the first car taken under the new powers given to police.

Inside they found swords and a dagger.

Three men, all aged under 19, will appear in court today charged over a violent incident on a train at Cronulla last Sunday, when up to 5,000 people gathered along the beachfront and a number of people of Middle Eastern appearance were attacked.

All three have been charged with riot and affray and have been refused bail.

- AAP

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