Search and Hit Enter

‘Appalling’: Premier of Victoria condemns ‘pretend’ ‘F**k the jab’ protesters in Melbourne, Australia

Andrews claimed many of those at Tuesday’s protest in Melbourne were agitators, rather than real construction workers, and said their “appalling” and “unlawful” conduct didn’t represent the many “fine people” he had met in the building trade.

“They’re not there to protest – they’re there for a fight,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “They’re there to pretend to be protesting.”

The ‘F**k the jab’ protest brought traffic on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge to a standstill, and riot police fired rubber bullets and deployed tear gas to control the crowd.

Police said 62 people were arrested, some for assaulting officers, three of whom were injured as multiple objects were thrown by protesters.

Demonstrations were held on Monday outside the offices of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), after Victoria ordered construction workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The intensity of the clashes led some on social media to question whether Australia was starting to see a revolt akin to the “yellow vest” protest movement in France.

CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan was quick to try to delegitimize the protests, blaming “right-wing extremists” for hijacking the conflict. Citizen journalist Avi Yemini, of far-right outlet Rebel News, denied the claim, saying most of the protesters were “100% CFMEU members.”

The state premier said the vaccine mandate for builders was justified because the construction industry already had a relatively high rate of COVID-19 infections. Rather than being swayed by the protests, he said the program of forced inoculations would be expanded.

“Other groups of workers in our community are going to have to get the jab to keep our state safe,” he said.

“Vaccination works. Vaccination is our pathway out of this.”

Victoria’s chief police commissioner, Shane Patton, urged people not to take part in further anti-mandate demonstrations on Wednesday. “I certainly understand that people are fatigued, they’re tired, they have got grievances and they’re frustrated, but now is not the time for protest,” he said.

While Patton went further than Andrews and other officials in acknowledging that at least some protesters had sincere concerns, he suggested that anyone who tried to demonstrate on Wednesday would be met with force.

“You’re not going to be welcomed with open arms, I can assure you of that,” he said.

Source: RT

Hundreds arrested in Australia protests as country posts worst COVID-19 rise

Hundreds were arrested after violent clashes between anti-lockdown protesters and police in Australia’s two largest cities Saturday as the country recorded its sharpest rise in daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Sydney’s state of New South Wales posted 825 infections – a record for the entire country – a day after authorities extended the city’s lockdown until at least September to try to head off the Delta variant.

“No matter how hard we work, no matter if 99 percent of people are doing the right thing, there’s an element of Delta that nobody can control,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told media.

“The best way we can look forward to freedom is by making sure that we get vaccinated.”

An increasing outbreak in Melbourne’s state of Victoria also prompted stay-at-home orders to be extended across the entire state on Saturday.

But Melbourne’s public health orders didn’t deter thousands from venting anger in a march against the lockdown rules, with police using pepper spray in violent clashes with protesters.

Seven officers were injured and more than 200 people were arrested in the “violent and unlawful” protest, Victoria Police said in a statement.

“While there were some peaceful protestors in attendance, the majority of those who attended came with violence in mind,” they said.

In Sydney more than 1,500 police flooded the city, setting up roadblocks and making dozens of arrests as around 250 gathered there, NSW Police said.

Large crowds were also reported at an anti-lockdown rally in Brisbane.

Sydneysiders were plunged into lockdown in late June, and restrictions now reach across two states and the nation’s capital, affecting over 15 million people.

Under a third of Australia’s population are fully vaccinated, as the arrival of Delta threatens to unwind the nation’s hard-fought pursuit of “covid zero”.

After a glacial rollout, nationwide vaccination efforts have accelerated in recent weeks, with leaders setting a target of over 70 percent vaccination rates before restrictions ease.

Sydney’s outbreak has also been linked to a case that sparked a national lockdown in New Zealand.

Australia has recorded over 42,000 “cases” in a population of over 25 million since the pandemic began, with 974 deaths linked to the virus.

Source: AFP via FRANCE24