Thousands of protesters have mobilised against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and the infamous Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 which is set to install the Premier with dictatorial powers.
“Sack Dan Andrews!” and “Free Victoria!” have been shouted continuously as two separate groups of protesters converge on Parliament House from opposite sides of the city.
The peaceful protest has been moving through Melbourne for several hours, growing in size. In addition to the two main groups, there are other silent religious protests standing motionless outside Parliament after the Victorian government put restrictions on worship.
Police have walked alongside the protest, escorting it quietly with no repeat of the heavy-handed brutality witnessed at earlier Freedom Protests where unarmed protesters were shot in the back with rubber bullets.
There have been a few isolated incidents of tension, including one where police arrested a man for jumping on a police car.
Cars and bikes tooted their horns in support of the protest as thousands marched through the city.
Independent MP Catherine Cumming was seen marching at the front. She was excluded from Parliament along with three other members for refusing to show proof of vaccination.
“Get out of our lives, get out of businesses! Sack Dan Andrews! Vote them out!” said Cumming, to the crowd. She then urged the right in the Labor Party to cross the floor against Daniel Andrews.
Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick addressed the crowd when it came to a stop outside Parliament House.
“The police facilitating your right to peacefully protest. We fought for this for over a year – now we’ve got it. Everyone knows that the government is introducing new legislation to get more power. But who would trust the government with more power? We’ve seen how they’ve used the power over the last 20 months. They’ve locked us in our homes. They told us that vaccines wouldn’t be mandatory. Then they told us that we’d lose our jobs. Then they told us that we’d have a segregated society,” said Limbrick, announcing that he would be voting against it.
“We must respect the rights of Victorians. If this Bill passes, they will have permanent emergency in the hands of the premier. We cannot let this Bill pass.”
“Kill the Bill!” shouted the crowd in response.
The crowd remained in good spirits despite the rain, cheering on independent journalist Rukshan who has been covering the event live.