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Australians Riot Against Draconian Lockdowns

Angry Australian workers are taking to the streets.

For several consecutive days, crowds have gathered in Melbourne protesting the draconian lockdowns against the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 300 people in total have been arrested, but chanting “every day,” the protesters vow to continue their revolt.

Background

New banner Perpective 1Australia is renowned globally as one of the most peaceful and civilized countries on earth, number three on the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom. However, in the last couple of years, the southern nation has been hit by no less than two severe pandemics, COVID-19 and wokism. These two have interacted strongly, and draconian cancel culture has become the standard policy for handling the virus.

So far, the people of Melbourne have had to endure more than 233 days of stay-at-home lockdown orders in response to especially the delta variant outbreak. Australian cities have, in effect, become prisons, treating the virus as an existential threat. These massive clampdowns on civil liberties have heated Australia from chill calm to boiling rage in just a couple of years.

Worker Protest

The policy that sparked a protest among construction workers on September 21 was a labor vaccine mandate. Many people are concerned about the long-term health effects of the vaccine, especially for young people who are not at significant risk of the disease. Between 1,000 and 2,000 of these turned out in construction clothes to protest the government mandates. Riot police met them, and the confrontation turned violent. The police explained that it used pepper balls, foam baton rounds, smoke bombs, and stinger grenades. Some of the protesters assaulted officers, threw bottles and stones, and attacked police cars. Officers arrested 62 protesters on that day. A Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (C.F.M.E.U.) branch secretary, John Setka, said that “far-right” groups drove the violent protests. They have also been labeled “anti-vaxxers.”

(Photo by Brandon F./Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In the following days, the spectacle continued, including at the Shrine of Remembrance, which is a monument to the soldiers that fought Fascism in World War II. The protesters chanted “lest we forget,” making the point that the soldiers died to protect the country against the type of policies that Australia today enacts. During this event, the police arrested more than 200 protesters. Terrorism expert Dr. Greg Barton of Deakin University used similar rhetoric to describe the protesters: “Perversely, they are evoking the Anzac digger Spirit. Yet, channeling the same sort of, frankly, neofascism that the diggers fought against.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the protests as “disgusting” and said they should be “ashamed” of the event at the shrine, which many Australians regard as sacred.

Fog of War

The harsh words and labels indicate a war to win the narrative about the ongoing events. Are the lockdowns totalitarian and the protesters patriotic freedom fighters? Or are the government responsible and the rioters far-right hooligans looking for trouble? The truth is probably distorted and cloaked behind the fog of war, but one thing we can say for sure: The media has sided with the government against the protesting workers.

~ Read more from Caroline Adana.

Read More From Caroline Adana

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