Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied in Australian capital cities to voice their opposition to the government’s ongoing “draconian” response to coronavirus.
The “World Wide Rally For Freedom” which took place on Saturday saw huge maskless crowds turn out in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in defiance of current health restrictions and lockdown measures.
It was estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 protesters in Sydney marched along Broadway and George Street towards Town Hall chanting “freedom,” and carrying signs with various messages such as, “Wake up Australia,” “No More Lockdowns,” and “No Vaccine Passports.”
According to 7News, protesters were met with a heavy police presence, including mounted police and riot officers. ABC News reported that police made several arrests during the rally, with other outlets describing the event as “violent” and “chaotic.”
Sky News contributor John Ruddick accused the media of lying about the nature of the rally, saying “this is the most peaceful and happy protest I’ve ever seen.”
Ruddick told Caldron Pool, “Today’s Sydney Freedom was a joyous three-hour event. A 50-50 gender balance and very multicultural. The attendees were very normal, ordinary Aussies who hate lockdown, etc. Everyone was talking to everyone around them and getting along fabulously.
“When the police asked that the protest conclude everyone promptly headed for home. If you invite a city to come to a protest then one or two will step out of line but 99% of attendees would have had no idea that happened till they came home to the news,” he added.
Commentator Joel Jammal told Caldron Pool he condemned any violence at the rally, from either police or civilians, but said the protest was mostly peaceful.
“Today’s protest in Sydney was by far the biggest I’ve attended,” Jammal said.
“We started at Victoria Park and made our way to the steps of Town Hall, and the police allowed us to give a couple of speeches.
“In my speech, I made four demands of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to end these protests: (1) No mandatory jab; (2) No jab passport; (3) End the lockdown immediately; and (4) The TGA must put out a statement on Ivermectin today.”
“We achieved what we came to do,” Jammal added, “and Gladys must listen to the concerns of the community. People are angry and they don’t turn up for protests unless they have concerns.”
In Melbourne, the media estimated that about 5,000 protesters gathered at Flinders Street Station at around 12pm before making their way up Swanston Street towards Parliament House, chanting “No More Lockdowns,” and “Free Victoria.”
According to reports, police in Melbourne made arrests before the protest even took place, with officers arresting multiple people for not wearing masks and failing to show their ID.
Avi Yemini of Rebel News told Caldron Pool the rally was the biggest lockdown protest he’s ever seen in Melbourne.
“I’ve covered most lockdown protests in Melbourne and this was the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” Yemini said.
“It was huge! At the beginning of the protest, police had formed a barricade to prevent the protesters from moving, however, a few protesters pushed their way through, and once the police realised that they were outnumbered they opened the barricade and allowed the entire crowd to walk through the CBD.
“Almost everyone was peaceful, and it was only right on at the end of the rally, around 2:30pm, that police started to make individual arrests,” Yemini said.
Brisbane saw a similar turn out. Lloyd Russell, Branch Coordinator for the Liberal Democrats told Caldron Pool that more than 5,000 “fed up” and concerned citizens attended the rally at the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, before making their way along George Street, into Edward Street, and back to the Gardens.
Russell said, “Speaking to people at the rally they were all there to send a message to government and the bureaucracy that they wanted to choose to care for themselves and their families. Women of all ages and demographics were hostile at having their families treated as pawns in a political pissing competition.
“People are sick to death with slogans like ‘We are all in this together,’ because clearly, we are not,” Russell said. “The bureaucracy has been inconvenienced at worst, while private sector people are going broke.
“People want the country opened up, so we can all get on with being human. The crowd was polite, respectful, engaging, and extremely well behaved. It was an honour to attend and represent the Liberal Democrats at the rally,” Russell added.
Protesters have said they plan on continuing the rallies until the government returns power to the people.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott has asked everyone who attended Saturday’s rally to get tested for COVID-19.
Feature image: Lloyd Russell, Matt Lowe.