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Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Thousands gather for anti-mandate protests in Melbourne and Sydney

Anti-coronavirus vaccine mandate protests have drawn large crowds in Australia’s two biggest cities, with thousands marching through the streets.

Rallies were scheduled for Saturday in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and regional centres as part of a global “freedom” movement.

The Melbourne crowd began to mass outside Victoria’s parliament before midday before walking to Flagstaff Gardens.

The demonstrators loosely comprise groups who oppose COVID-19 vaccines, mandates and the state’s proposed pandemic laws, which stalled in the upper house this week.

Watched on by police, they chanted “kill the bill” and yelled “sack Dan Andrews” while carrying placards featuring a range of anti-government and anti-vaccine mandate slogans.

The crowd has since grown to several thousand at the gardens, where a band played John Farnham’s You’re the Voice.

A counter demonstration at the nearby Eight Hour Day Monument has also attracted a smaller crowd but group organisers have pledged not to seek a confrontation.

The anti-fascist demonstrators were escorted by police to avoid clashing with the other protesters, some of whom they believe have been infiltrated by far-right groups.

A woman, who the crowd claimed to be an anti-vaxxer, was lead away by police. 

In Sydney, several thousands of protesters also marched through the CBD to voice their concerns. 

The sound of bagpipes echoed through York St as a man dressed in white screamed “destroy the new world order” and others chanted “walk with us”.

A Sydney demonstrator carried a “kill the bill” sign, while others waved Australian flags.

United Australia Party leader and federal MP Craig Kelly is addressing the crowd at Martin Place after visiting a Melbourne protest last weekend.

Party founder and former senator Clive Palmer was scheduled to speak at the sister rally in Brisbane.

It comes after Queensland MP Brittany Lauga has contacted police after she and other members of state parliament received an email with “threats of terrorism, extremism and violence”.

“I understand local doctors have been sent death threats and other threatening letters,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I unequivocally condemn these threats of violence, terrorism and extremism. This is not peaceful protest.”

AAP

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