Thousands of protesters swarm Australian parliament (VIDEOS) — Analysis

Demonstrators, who have been present in Canberra for over a week now, demand an immediate end of Covid restrictions

The protestors gathered Saturday at Canberra’s Parliament House to call for an end the coronavirus measure. The demonstrators, who arrived by truck, car, and bus over the last week, had camped at a nearby festival ground. 

On video footage, crowds were seen streaming into the capital and gathering outside the parliament. Jennifer Bechwati, 7News reporter, described the crowd as “a chaotic and violent event.” “one of the biggest protests I’ve ever seen.”

The crowd cheered once they were outside of the Australian legislative. “sack them all,” referring to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state premiers responsible for implementing some of the world’s toughest pandemic-related restrictions. For example in Victoria, proof of vaccination and face masks are mandatory in all indoor environments. All employees are also required to have their vaccines up to date in order to go to work. 

At least three people were arrested on Saturday, with one detained for driving his truck through a roadblock. The police said that the crowd was approximately 10,000. “generally well behaved.”

Over the course of the week protesters poured into the capital, setting up camp at an exhibition site nearby in cars, trucks and caravans. They were told to leave by Sunday, or they would be arrested for trespassing.

Morrison responded to the protest, urging people to take part in demonstrations. “peaceful and respectful way.”Australian leaders stated that, except for some guidelines for healthcare workers, every vaccine mandate in their country was implemented by the state premiers.

“They have not been put in place by the commonwealth government … so I understand their concerns about these issues,”Morrison spoke.

Government figures show that 94% Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated. With more than 99% of its population over 16, Canberra is part of the Australian Capital Territory.

Some cars arriving at Canberra in the days before the protest had flags and the phrase on them “Convoy to Canberra.” The protest is one of several ‘Freedom Convoys’ loosely inspired by a truckers’ protest in Canada that clogged the streets of Ottawa and blockaded several border crossings between Canada and the US. Trucks and other vehicular protests are ongoing in New Zealand, France and the United States. The French protesters will join others European drivers and truckers, and arrive at Brussels next week.

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