Armed police clashed with thousands who occupied the Melbourne CBD on Saturday, furious with the unaccountable Premier Daniel Andrews and his snap lockdowns.
While protesters demanded Andrews resign, police responded with a show of force as disproportionate to the situation as the response to COVID by the Andrews government.
Riot police doused the defiant demonstrators with CS spray and fired pellet guns for the first time in the history of Victoria. In other scenes, protesters were tackled and hit with batons. It was the logical progression of an authoritarian policy imposed by the rogue premiere.
Protests also took place in Sydney and Brisbane, but Melbourne proved the biggest turnout by far. Some media are placing the figures at around 1000 freedom activists. Yet, from the footage, at least three times that many took part.
After gathering at the intersection of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets at around 11. am Melburnians took over the deserted streets. Protesters chanted ‘Freedom’ and ‘Sack Dan Andrews’ while carrying signs, waving flags, and singing along to freedom tunes by Twisted Sister and Guns N’ Roses. Captured in timelapse by News.com, the march through Bourke Street is epic.
Reports claim that the protesters, who organised via social media, converged at the designated meeting spot in ten seconds. Media also allege that they broke through police barricades during the three-hour event.
Legacy media and citizen journalists alike captured revealing moments from the rally. In footage of the protest filmed by a journalist for The Age, one young man at Flinders Station yelled at police, “Stand with the people, don’t be a Nazi!”
In another video, filmed by an unidentified protester and circulating on social media, the man filming indicates a distinctive but non-lethal firearm held by a riot cop. As he yells, “What’s that, what’s that?” he finds out as the officer loosens a round of pellets at him. When he demands, “Do it again,” the video ends with him lying on the road.
A police spokeswoman justified the police overreaction. “While there were some peaceful protesters in attendance, the majority of those who attended came with violence in mind,” she told media.
“The behaviour seen by police was so hostile and aggressive that they were left with no choice but to use all tactics available to them.”
Things came to a head at Victoria Square Market, where a mass of officers in riot gear brought the marchers to a halt.
Troublemakers then hurled bottles, and flares were thrown at police lines, initiating their violent response. Organisers subsequently called off the rally claiming victory.
Overall, police arrested 218 and issued 236 fines. Police are claiming six officers injured, with wounds ranging from a broken thumb to concussion. None were seriously hurt.
No doubt police will dedicate resources to tracking down whoever was involved and laying charges.
The rally comes after only 17 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the state of Victoria. Nonetheless, that figure prompted the anti-federalist Premier to impose another round of draconian lockdown measures on weary citizens.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, numbers were estimated between 250 and 750. We have no reliable numbers. The police cordon around the city made it impossible for most to attend.
NSW Police are claiming 47 arrests and issued 260 infringement notices statewide.
The legacy media have responded predictably, describing protesters as ‘anti-vax conspiracy extremists’. A News.com.au story skews the narrative with the headline ‘Aussies sickened by lockdown rallies’. The usual accusations will spew forth, and claims of the rallies serving as ‘superspreader events’ will likely follow.
Doubtless, many joined the rally to take a swat at police, who bear the brunt of the frustrations. Understandably, they cannot get their hands on the Premier, which would be ideal. Yet, the police are by no means worthy of empathy as the media narrative demands. Since being given carte blanche by the state governments to respond as they choose, officers are relishing their powers.
Police heavy-handedness is rife. Citizen journalists are documenting the ruthless officiousness they bring to bear. Police in western Sydney became so carried away with enforcing restrictions last month that they maced a 12-year-old girl with her family.
Protester numbers in Victoria attest to the high dissatisfaction among Victorians at large. Not all who support the protests could attend. Likewise, in Sydney, police restrictions prevented most from reaching the rally destination.
The totality of protester grievances must and should be understood by all. Vaccine passports, lockdowns, the personal misery inflicted by the loss of income, loss of freedom, all based on an opinion not borne out by cogent evidence. For instance, despite the harsh lockdown conditions, NSW recorded a record 825 cases. Regardless, out of a population of 8 million, the figure is insignificant. Admittedly, not to those who have the virus, but it’s comparable to any flu.
Similarly, the recent deaths were all people in their 80s and 90s who were not long for this world anyway. If COVID did not get them, then it would be something else. Cold logic, but true.
Moreover, no such thing as a peaceful protest exists. Those who protest do so because these people bear grievances. And in light of the actions of the government and their police enforcers, their anger is manifold.
However, the media and government are spinning the objectors as extremists and lumping them in with the so-called extreme right to demonise the less obsequious.
The usual ASIO-connected Auxilliary commentators among the anti-fascist Left are already identifying far-right members that attended rallies. They are disingenuous as the implication does not warrant the size and breadth of resentment over lockdown.
The furious will have their say come election time. But with the power granted to the Premier and health minister in NSW and Victoria, they can postpone that election indefinitely.
Then again, while protesters took to the streets, Leftists were all obediently masked indoors with the doors locked, spying through the window to report on lockdown breakers and mask dodgers.
It says everything about where we are at in this foul year of our Lord 2021. Still, what are the statistics for those officers testing positive to COVID-19? If the theory surrounding lockdown holds water, then infection among the police should reflect in the numbers.