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(AUSTRALIA) Anti-Lockdown Report: Thousands gathered at rallies across the country on Saturday as part of an international day of protest against #COVID19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Nov.21: By the late Saturday afternoon, no violence had been reported from any of the events: In the Victorian capital, a large police presence was monitoring two separate crowds in Melbourne’s CBD.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says according to media reports many demonstrators held placards as they marched down streets in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide: In Brisbane and Hobart protesters gathered in parks, while those in Perth met in a public square: In several cities, anti-lockdown and mandate protesters were met by counter rallies of those voicing pro-vaccination messages.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 3 seconds
Melbourne protesters rally against COVID-19 lockdowns

Protesters have been camped outside Victoria’s Parliament House throughout the week calling for the scrapping of the state government’s controversial pandemic bill.

On Saturday, thousands more joined them to march through the city.

Meanwhile, another group of protesters, who labelled themselves anti-fascist, gathered for a rally near Trades Hall in Russell Street.

Police cordoned off the area, separating the two groups.

A person wearing a white tshirt with an Australian flag on top surrounded by a crowd in Melbourne.
A protester wears an Australian Flag at the rally in Melbourne.(ABC News: Darcy Hodgson)

Morrison on the back foot — againThe ugly escalation in Melbourne is the sort of moment you would expect leaders to quickly respond to and settle down — but the Prime Minister couldn’t resist adding a political kicker.

The Victorian government’s pandemic bill was designed to replace State of Emergency laws which were used to bring restrictions in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill has been the subject of intense debate and has attracted protests outside the Victorian parliament.

Some people associated with this week’s protests wheeled out violent imagery, while legal groups and the state’s ombudsman have been calling for greater oversight to be included in the legislation.

The state government has managed to delay a vote in the upper house while it tries to win enough crossbench support for the bill to pass into law.

Some in the crowd at Saturday’s anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne said they travelled from regional Victoria to attend the protest.

“We’ve come about three hours from Nathalia in northern Victoria, so we’re making a bit of an effort but we’re very concerned with the way things are going,” one protester said.

A woman in a flourescent vest at a protest
Nahui Jimenez said the counter-protest was about spreading a “pro-health” message.(ABC News)

One of the anti-fascist rally organisers, Nahui Jimenez, said the demonstration was “a message of solidarity with health workers”.

“The majority of people support these health measures which actually have helped millions of people not get COVID,” she said.

By 3:30pm AEDT, both groups had started to disperse.

Protesters holding signs demonstrate in a city street
There were delays around Melbourne due to the marches.(ABC News: Daniel Morgan)
Police create a cordon around a protest in a city street
Police created a cordon around a protest at Parliament House in Melbourne.(ABC News: Daniel Morgan )
An aerial shot of a rally in a park.
The Melbourne rally attracted thousands.(ABC News)

Rallies of thousands in other capitals

Thousands of anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protesters also gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park and marched through the streets of the CBD.

Crowds carried Australian flags, Eureka flags and the Red Ensign and sang the national anthem while a bagpipe group performed.

A man wears a mask with a hole cut out of it and carries the Australian flag
Thousands were also gathered in Sydney.(AAP: Steven Saphore)

Some people brought babies to the demonstration to protest against vaccinating children.

Mounted police were positioned to control crowds, which were largely peaceful.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 7 seconds
Sydney protesters in Hyde Park and the CBD against COVID lockdowns

Former federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who has now defected to Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, gave a fiery speech about vaccine mandates.

“I hope the Prime Minister is watching this today … because he could ban vaccine passports in this country if he wanted,” Mr Kelly said.

He told the crowd he would see them again next weekend for another protest.

A large crowd waves flags at an anti-COVID protest rally
United Party Australia MP Craig Kelly addressed crowds in Sydney.(ABC News: Steven Saphore)

Meanwhile, about 4,000 people gathered in Adelaide’s Rundle Park as part of the protests, and began marching through the city centre.

They were particularly focused on vaccine mandates.

A police officer on a motorbike in focus with a line of protesters in the background.
The demonstrations in Adelaide caused traffic jams.(ABC News: Steven Love)

The group marched down North Terrace, King William Street and Grenfell Street before returning to Rundle Park.

There were delays for traffic and public transport in Adelaide’s CBD.

People gathered in a park with protest signs and flags
A protest in Adelaide’s Rundle Park attracted about 4,000 people.(ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

South Australia’s education department announced this week that all teachers and childcare workers would have to have at least one COVID-19 vaccination by the last day of term, December 10.

In Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens, mining magnate Clive Palmer addressed a crowd of hundreds, many carrying black and yellow signs with anti-vaccination messages.

The group was met by a counter rally. The second group said they were opposing anti-vaccine politics.

MPs and doctors in Queensland recently reported a wave of threats and hate mail being sent to their offices.

Thousands of people gathered in Forrest Place, in Perth’s CBD, to protest against a vaccine mandate that the WA government has said will apply to 75 per cent of the state’s workforce.

Thousands of people packed tightly and protesting with placards.
Thousands packed into Forrest Place in Perth’s CBD.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

Many were voicing opposition to the leadership of WA Premier Mark McGowan and his handling of vaccination policy.

In Perth, a smaller counter protest also gathered near the main demonstrations voicing pro-vaccination messages.

A man wearing sunglasses and a blue t-shirt in a crowd holds up a pamphlet with a pro-vaccination message,
Smaller groups formed alongside the major protests, bearing pro-vaccination messages.(ABC News)

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered on the lawns of Tasmania’s parliament in Hobart, not far from the popular Saturday Salamanca markets.

Several protesters stood at the entrances to the park, handing out anti-vaxxer pamphlets, while a band played live music.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Nov.21: 2021:

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