Aussies have responded in the best possible way after hundreds of Americans marched through New York demanding that America “save” us.
Australia must be “saved” according to hundreds of protesters who marched through New York City yesterday – but their offer has not been received in the way they expected.
Our nation became the surprising focal point of a march against vaccine mandates for teachers in the Big Apple, with hundreds of protesters chanting “Save Australia” and some Australian flags waving.
The large crowd gathered outside the Australian Consulate in the city for speeches in support of Australia after they marched through Manhattan.
“What’s going on in Australia won’t just be Australia. And when it shows up on our doorstep, we’ll smash it right in the damn teeth,” said one speaker.
“We’re holding the line for Australia, we’re supporting Australia!” said another.
They may have meant well in their concern, but thousands of Aussies responded to the demonstration with extreme sarcasm, disbelief and reflected concern for Americans in response to the march.
On Wednesday mornings, the march’s slogan “Save Australia” is the most popular phrase on Twitter – with more than 10,000 people talking about it – and strong reactions on other social media sites.
The overwhelming consensus seems to be that Americans don’t have to worry about Australia and that they have a few problems of their own that they need to solve before they try to help us.
“The next thing they have ads: for as little as $1 a day you can support an Australian,” said one person.
“If Americans can say Melbourne well, they can be concerned about what’s happening there,” added another.
Commentators and journalists are also commenting on the protest.
“Save Australia!!! We are trapped here by universal health care, no guns, abundant sunshine and low Covid numbers. Help out!!!” The Guardian Australia’s Paul Karp said sarcastically on Twitter.
“Before Covid, we had 30 years of uninterrupted economic growth – so we clearly worked hard. The dictators make us put 10% of our salary in super (401K) so that we don’t retire in poverty. Where is the freedom?!?”
As many pointed out, Australia might want to look elsewhere when it comes to advice on how to deal with Covid.
“New York has 8 million inhabitants and there have been 55,000 deaths from Covid,” said one person.
“Victoria has a population of 6.7 million and a Covid death toll of 877.”
There is also a minority of Australians thanking the protesters for shining a light on the Covid situation here in Australia.
Rogue MP Craig Kelly – who now represents the United Australia Party – is one of them.
“Thank you NEW YORK,” he wrote on Twitter. “I love Australia.
“Shame on those who destroy our freedoms. Shame on those who violate our human rights.”
What was the protest about?
The march began in Brooklyn outside the Department of Education headquarters earlier in the day, as hundreds of people gathered to hear speeches. It mobilized and moved across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan, singing chants like “Wake up, New York,” “Let’s Teach,” and “We the People Will Not Comply.”
Some members of the crowd knocked over a Covid-19 test site tent on their way through town, while many jeered and chanted, “Shame on you!”
A man, who was recording with his phone, knocked over the table at the test site. Another then pulled down the tent before police officers intervened.
The march ended outside the Australian Consulate in Midtown, where speeches were made in support of Australia.
Footage from Brendan Gutenschwager, an independent reporter, showed some of the speeches.
Australia has become a focal point for some commentators in the US who see the nation as an extreme example of lockdowns and Covid restrictions.
For example last month, the Texas Freedom Coalition posted the image on its Facebook page that compared Australia’s strict Covid-19 lockdown laws to a penitentiary system.
Next to the text is a map of Australia: “What does the largest prison in the world look like from space”.
Obviously, the majority of those who took part in the nighttime march in New York were Department of Education (DOE) employees – protesting the agency’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate that came into effect on Monday.
Teachers and other DOE staff at the rally told the New York Post they had been officially placed on unpaid leave with health insurance after refusing to get the shot.
Others said they were still being paid but not being admitted to their school because their religious or medical exemption requests are still being considered.
In New York state, the approaching vaccination deadlines have been accompanied by a significant increase in the number of shots fired among health professionals and others.
About 96 percent of New York City teachers have had at least one vaccination, with an increase in the past week as the deadline approached.
However, according to the United Federation of Teachers, about 4,000 DOE employees, including 2,000 teachers, had not yet been vaccinated when classes began Monday morning. They are now placed on unpaid leave or have the option of resigning from the DOE.
Some DOE employees at the meeting said they knew colleagues who got the shot only because they couldn’t afford to lose their paychecks and because they had to worry about their families.