/ 22 September 2021

Mixed agendas with vaccination at its core

Image source: David Crosling
Image source: David Crosling

Three police officers and a journo were injured and 62 protestors were arrested in ugly scenes in Melbourne yesterday. Kicking off in the CBD in the morning, Victoria Police boss Shane Patton said up to 2,000 people were involved in demonstrations that brought traffic on the West Gate Freeway to a standstill before the large group headed back into the city. Along the way, windows were smashed, flares were lit, and glass bottles/dangerous projectiles were thrown at police and the media. Authorities responded with pepper balls, smoke rounds, stinger grenades and rubber bullets. Who those demonstrators were is now the subject of debate

The Victorian Government has tied some of the spread of COVID in the state to construction sites. On Monday, negotiations with the construction union went from bad to worse. Workers angry about a requirement to have at least one vaccination shot by early October and anti-vaxxers attacked the union’s headquarters, leading the government to shut the construction industry down for a fortnight. Yesterday was a continuation of that melange of unionists and ‘freedom’ protestors, along with those from “far-right and neo-Nazi groups” – in what proportion is unknown. Union leaders say “a small minority” of those involved yesterday were union members, and their concerns were being hijacked. Thanking police for their response, Premier Daniel Andrews said there was “no excuse for the terrible behaviour we have seen in our city over the last 2 days.”

According to the protestors, they’ll be back again today. More than 500 police will be waiting for them in the CBD as a deterrent. One of the chants that could be heard yesterday was “every day” – that means they plan to come back again and again. They were also singing along to Daryl Braithwaite’s Horses. We don’t know what that means other than it’s a banging tune…

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