Vaccine mandate protests kick off across Australia, featuring Pauline Hanson

Catie McLeod and Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

Huge crowds of protesters have gathered in central Melbourne and Sydney as part of organised rallies across the country against mandatory vaccinations.

The Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccination group has organised protests on Saturday in 30 cities and towns across Australia.

Pictures and video shared on social media show diverse groups of protesters of all ages in both cities who claim to hold a range of concerns including vaccine mandates, vaccine passports and public health restrictions.

Footage captured from a news helicopter showed huge crowds packing the street outside state parliament. Credit: Channel 7
Camera IconFootage shows huge crowds in Melbourne. Credit: Channel 7 Credit: Supplied

A large crowd converged on Melbourne’s state parliament with live video footage from a news helicopter showing a large group of people blocking Spring Street, some holding banners or beating drums.

The group moved down Bourke St after 1pm, to the sound of cheering, horns and drums, as well as the regular chanting of “Sack (premier) Dan Andrews”.

In Sydney, a sizeable crowd of people of all ages has gathered in Hyde Park, some draped in Australian flags and others holding signs emblazoned with slogans including “Never lock down again. Less government, more freedom” and “No one can stop the awakening of humanity”.

Camera IconVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Credit: News Corp Australia

Rogue MP Craig Kelly, whose opposition to coronavirus vaccines and restrictions propelled his defection from the Liberal Party earlier this year, live streamed the Hyde Park rally on Saturday.

Footage he shared on his Twitter account shows speakers and musicians taking to a stage to speak about vaccine mandates and play music in front of a large crowd.

In one clip shared by Mr Kelly, a band performs TheSeekers classic “I Am Australian” and the protesters join in to sing “I am, you are, we are Australian” before breaking into cheers and thunderous applause.

Young children have been photographed at Saturday’s rallies in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Protesters in Melbourne
Camera IconProtesters have returned to Melbourne's city centre for the third weekend in a row. Credit: AAP

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard granted unvaccinated protesters an exemption to attend the Sydney rally.

Mr Hazzard said earlier that organisers needed to “take reasonably practicable steps” to ensure people attending the rally were not a close contact of a Covid-19 case, ensure people wear a mask and socially distance, and not attend if they are feeling unwell.

Protesters across the country are marching under the banners of “Hold the Line” and “Reclaim the Line” against vaccine mandates which they claim are discriminatory.

Pauline Hanson addressed the crowd.
Camera IconPauline Hanson addressed the crowd. Credit: Alix Sweeney/News Corp Australia

On the Gold Coast, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who this week failed to introduce a bill that sought to “protect” Australians from mandatory vaccination policies introduced by state governments, addressed the crowd.

“I said to (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison last week when I had a half an hour conversation with him on the phone – he said ‘your bill doesn’t comply with the constitution’ – I said ‘well go out and bloody well change it so it does’,” she said to wild applause, banging drums and chants of “Pauline, Pauline”.

Her One Nation colleague Malcolm Roberts also attended and a number of health professionals, police officers, and business owners had said they would be there.

Queensland protesters on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay have been told they face a $4000 fine if they deliberately breach the chief health officer’s directives.

Rallies are also taking place in Adelaide, Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, Canberra, Newcastle, Ballina, Inverell, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Bermagui, Launceston, Bunbury, Albany, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Carnarvon, Port Hedland, Broome, and Kununurra.

Originally published as Vaccine mandate protests kick off across Australia, featuring Pauline Hanson

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