Thousands protest against Covid-19 lockdowns in Australia
Anti-lockdown protesters have marched in major Australian cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, both are currently locked down as Covid cases spiked to record numbers in Sydney.
The rallys are part of about nine across the country as anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protesters hold a “worldwide rally for freedom” on Saturday afternoon.
Thousands of angry, unmasked people marched through the Sydney central business district on Saturday afternoon demanding an end to the city’s lockdown, which is entering its fifth week.
A shock photo emerged showing the brazen protesters huddled together as they walked through Broadway in Sydney’s innerwest chanting, holding signs and halting traffic.
Similar scenes unfolded in Melbourne and Adelaide, which are both in lockdown, and Brisbane, which is not.
Protesters gathered about 12pm at Flinders Street Station, before walking up Swanston Street towards Parliament House. About 5000 people took to the streets, chanting, waving flags and halting trams and traffic.
In Brisbane hundreds of people turned out the to the city's botanic gardens refusing to wear masks in an anti-lockdown protest.
A car rally is also planned for locked-down Adelaide, with police warning they will make arrests over unlawful activity.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, had labelled the idea of protesting against the lockdown as “ridiculous”.
“Protest against this virus by staying at home, following the rules and getting out of lockdown,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard described the move to protest as “silly”.
“We live in a democracy and I am certainly one who supports people’s right to protest, but I actually think it is really silly,” he said.
“At present we’ve got cases through the roof and we have people thinking it’s okay to get out there and possibly be close to each other.”
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said he was “beyond disappointed” at the protests and urged people to rethink their motives to protest amid a global pandemic.
“Please be on the side of humanity, not the side of the virus,” he said.