The Gloves are off Ppl! – Mick Raven
‘Organisers of the Sydney rally claimed more than 100,000 demonstrators were in attendance.’
20th Nov 2021
Thousands of protesters chant and storm streets for ‘freedom rallies’
Tens of thousands of anti-vax mandate and Covid rule protesters have descended across Australia as authorities prepare for the possibility of a clash with a counter rally.
A series of “freedom rallies” planned for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart began at 12pm on Saturday with massive crowds taking to the streets.
In Melbourne, chanting demonstrators waving Australian flags and “kill the bill” placards marched down Bourke St into the city.
Meanwhile, anti-fascist protesters converged on the Eight Hour Day Monument after demonstrators vowed to counter protest the so-called “freedom rallies”.
The massive crowd in Melbourne. Picture: Jason Edwards
Authorities are concerned the situation could escalate if the two protests collide.
A significant police presence is at the scene, and the riot squad is reportedly ready to be called in if required.
“We respect people’s right to peacefully protest without impact on the rest of the community and will not tolerate anyone who breaks the law or engages in violent or anti-social behaviour,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
Thousands have attended the rally in Melbourne. Picture NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
“There will be a highly visible police presence to monitor the area and ensure there are no breaches of the peace.”
Outspoken anti-vax Instagrammer Marina Zee told the Melbourne audience that Victoria’s pandemic laws were part of a co-ordinated plan to control individuals.
“It’s never been about health. It’s all about control,” she shouted.
In Sydney, crowds gathered with Australian flags and signs at Hyde Park.
Demonstrators could be seen chanting “freedom” before joining together to sing the national anthem.
They later repeatedly chanted “sack them all”.
One protester who spoke in front of the large crowd could saying they had “taken back Sydney”.
NSW Police have been on high alert and have encouraged motorists to avoid the CBD area.
Protesters gather in Hyde Park in Sydney. / Flavio Brancaleone
Organisers of the Sydney rally claimed more than 100,000 demonstrators were in attendance.
Following a rendition of Waltzing Matilda, rogue MP Craig Kelly made the wild claim that vaccine mandates were equivalent to living in a prison camp.
“If you live in a place where you only have your freedom given to you in exchange for some type of good behaviour, you do not live in a free society. You live in a prison camp,” he told the crowd.
Craig Kelly was welcomed by the crowd with cheers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone
These latest rallies come after Melbourne became the site of anti-government protests this week as crowds occupied the front steps of the Victorian parliament to demonstrate against the state’s proposed pandemic laws.
The bill has since been stalled in the upper house as the state government attempts to sure up support with key crossbenchers after former Labor MP Adem Somyurek vowed to vote against the legislation.
Demonstrators last weekend wheeled out makeshift gallows with nooses attached.
Melbourne has been the site for ugly protests this week over the states proposed pandemic law. Picture NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
The ugly scenes prompted a fierce back and forth between the nation’s political leaders, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews accusing Scott Morrison of “double speak” to pander to the votes of extremists.
“We have seen extremists, rabid anti-vaxxers and others making all sorts of threats, threats against me, my wife and my kids,” Mr Andrews told Channel 9.
“I‘m committed to doing what has to be done. I’m not about chasing, through doublespeak, the votes of extremists or their preferences.”
The Prime Minister on Friday condemned the protests, but also suggested he understood why the protesters were frustrated.
The scene in Melbourne on Saturday. Picture NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
“I was very clear yesterday in denunciating any violence, threats or intimidation that is applied against anyone,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
“I don’t have sympathy for violence, I don’t have sympathy for threats.
“I have sympathy for Australians who have had a gutful of governments telling them what to do over the last two years.”
He also said politicians like Mr Kelly should not be associating themselves with the rallies.