Rival protests in Melbourne as Victoria registers 1,166 new COVID-19 cases

Those protesting against the pandemic legislation and vaccination mandates shouted “Guy Dan Andrews” and “kill the bill” as they marched down the streets of central Melbourne.

In the crowd, there were various signs referring to the baseless QAnon conspiracy, and Trump flags being waved by protesters.

A counter-protest organized by Campaign Against Racism and Fascism was held at the same time as the group promised to “push back against the growth of the far right” in the city.

“Anti-waxxers, you can not hide, you have Nazis on your side,” shouted the group of counter-protesters as they came through the city.

Counter-protesters then marched to the Melbourne Park Hotel, where asylum seekers and refugees are currently being detained by the Australian government in what they called an expression of solidarity.

Victoria Police made an arrest with a spokesman saying the protest was peaceful “despite a significant number of attendees”.

Those who support vaccination held protests in Melbourne to counter anti-vaccination protesters with the former wearing masks.

Source: AAP

The protests in Melbourne are coming as the Victorian government continues negotiations with crossbenchers to pass its pandemic legislation, following days of protests on the front lines of Parliament.

With almost all remaining COVID-19 restrictions lifted just before midnight Friday, Victoria has now surpassed the milestone of 90 percent double-dose vaccination in people over 12 years of age.

As of Saturday, 93.4 percent of Victorians aged 12 and over have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 89 percent have received two doses.

The so-called “worldwide freedom rally” saw protesters appear in cities across Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, spray-painting anti-vaccination messages.

Craig Kelly, leader of the United Australia Party, gave a speech at the demonstration in Sydney, where he was greeted with shouts of “Kelly, Kelly, Kelly”.

“Once we have governments adopting vaccine passports, we are no longer free. We do not live in a free society, we live in a prison camp,” the former liberal politician told the crowd.

NSW police made no arrests in Sydney, saying up to 10,000 people took part in a protest in the CBD and another 120 gathered in a protest in Newtown.

“Overall, the protests were carried out peacefully with minimal disturbance to society, and I am pleased to see that the vast majority of people complied with police instructions,” said Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell.

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Protesters also gathered in Brisbane as the state did not report new cases of COVID-19.

Tension was kindled during the demonstration after a man in the crowd shouted “hang the b *** h” when a speaker asked the protesters how they felt about Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Not long after, the speaker asked a man with a noose to get rid of it, saying “we do not want that crunch here” and reiterated that it was a peaceful protest.

It comes after Queensland MP Brittany Lauga contacted police after she and other members of the state parliament received an email with “threats of terrorism, extremism and violence”.

“I understand that local doctors have been sent death threats and other threatening letters,” she wrote on Twitter.

People are seen during a demonstration outside the Victorian State Parliament in Melbourne on Tuesday 16 November 2021.

Source: AAP / Joel Carrett

“I unequivocally condemn these threats of violence, terrorism and extremism. This is not a peaceful protest.”

The condemnation of threats of violence from anti-vaccination protesters in Melbourne has grown since the anti-vaccination protests in Melbourne last weekend.

A video surfaced on social media showing protesters gathered around the gallows shouting “kill Dan Andrews” and “hang Dan Andrews” while trying to place the head of an inflatable doll of the premiere through a loop.

Andrews told reporters that despite his family and himself receiving threats, he will not be “discouraged from the work I do to keep any family safe”.

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“I did not want the horrific, disgusting and potentially criminal behavior of a small number of people to detract from the amazing work that so many Victorians have done,” he said.

“It’s so unfair for a small, ugly mob to take the attention away from the more than 90 percent of Victorians who have been given a first dose and will soon have received a second dose.”

On Friday, key Victorian MP Andy Meddick revealed that his daughter Kielan had allegedly been attacked on a street in Fitzroy the previous evening and had sustained a head injury after being confronted by an unknown man over spray-painting an anti-wax poster.

The incident was condemned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.

Additional reporting: AAP

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