As the world gets closer and closer to, what is likely going to be forced vaccinations against COVID-19, anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protests have sprung up Saturday (Sept. 12) across Australia and New Zealand.
In Melbourne, demonstrators took to the streets, defying strict social distancing measures, resulting in at least a dozen arrests as clashes with police were seen, reported RT News.
Rallies were observed in central Melbourne early Saturday around the Shrine of Remembrance, an area that saw a surge in social unrest last weekend (see: here).
"Despite all the warnings, it was disappointing to see individuals turn out to protest in the city today, putting the lives of Victorians at risk," Victoria Police said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.
RT notes while "1,500 people" signed up to attend today's protest, only about 100 protesters were actually seen - considering local police have threatened anyone who breaks lockdown restrictions could face upwards of a $1,650 fine.
Organizers branded the protest as "a legal walk" that would allow Melburnians "to come together, get healthy, and talk about getting our freedoms back." The walk did not go over well with Victoria Police, who told The Epoch Times that they were monitoring social media activity ahead of the planned protests.
"Victoria Police is aware and monitoring potential protest activity planned for this weekend. We are currently making a number of inquiries in relation to this and remain in the process of planning our operation response," Victoria Police Media Unit Supervisor Sam Bidey told The Epoch Times in a statement.
News Corp Australia's Jack Paynter posted a series of tweets showing "dozens of police" moving in on the Shrine of Remembrance as they waited for protesters.
Dozens of police including the mounted branch have moved into position at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance as they await a planned “freedom walk” protest at 11am. pic.twitter.com/WZF3gmAzXL— Jack Paynter (@jackpayn) September 12, 2020
Paynter posted several videos showing at least one "anti-lockdown protester" getting hauled off in handcuffs by police.
An anti-lockdown protester says it is worth the fine as he is led away in handcuffs after proudly displaying a sign near the Shrine. pic.twitter.com/DRkuZREz85— Jack Paynter (@jackpayn) September 12, 2020
Local Nine News Adelaide captured footage and provided commentary about Saturday's protest.
Police warned they'd be out in force, and today they far outnumbered anti-lockdown protestors who threatened to gather en masse around the Tan.— Nine News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) September 12, 2020
Hundreds of officers formed a wall around the Shrine of Remembrance - arresting 14 and fining more than 50. @LanaMurphy #9News pic.twitter.com/TtyC8tntnx
According to 10 News First Melbourne, 14 protesters were arrested and 51 fined.
Nine News Sydney reports Saturday's protest was a "practice run" and Sunday's march will be the "big event."
Another positive sign today from Victoria with the state recording its lowest daily figures since June. Meanwhile, police showed up in force to quash a planned protest in Melbourne. @LanaMurphy #9News pic.twitter.com/dt4onExvYY— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) September 12, 2020
Australians are increasingly becoming angry as new coronavirus cases are surging in the country, forcing the government in Melbourne, Victoria, to recently announce new rounds of lockdowns to mitigate virus spreading.
COVID-19 Infections In Victoria
Anti-lockdown protests are spreading to neighboring New Zealand Saturday, where large crowds reportedly gathered in Auckland, the most populous urban area in the country.
"We are all here today because we believe we need to stand up for our rights," leader of the Advance New Zealand party Jami-Lee Ross, one of the organizers of the rally, was quoted as saying by the public Television New Zealand.
"We're all here today because we believe it's time to stand up and say, 'We need to get our rights and freedoms back.'"
And it's not just an increase in anti-lockdown/ anti-vaxxer protests in Oceania states, we've noted the lastest string to hit Europe, more specifically, Germany, in August.
Thousands of protesters have also been seen in London's Trafalgar Square, and US activists wielding assault rifles across major metro areas have rejected lockdowns and other social distancing measures.
With a coronavirus vaccine on the horizon for mass distribution next year, the acceptance rate at which people are willing to inject some experimental drug into their bodies will remain low. Just wait until vaccines become mandatory (see: here) in certain countries - that could undoubtedly spark further unrest.