Australia Not all anti-lockdown protesters are conspiracy-theorists and extremists
'Let them die': Fairfax NAACP leader attacks people who are 'anti-equity,' 'anti-social justice'
A leader of the NAACP was seen outside a middle school in Fairfax County, Virginia on Thursday denouncing individuals she said were "anti-equity" and even stating, "Let them die."While speaking outside of a middle school where anti-critical race theory demonstrators were, NAACP Vice President Michelle Leete said: "Let's deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial … anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, [inaudible], anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admiss
Thousands of Australians took to the streets in protests at the weekend, many flouting COVID-19 public health restrictions during a spiralling outbreak, all in the vague pursuit of “freedom”.
Hundreds were fined and dozens were arrested during the demonstrations, which turned violent at times.
What the diverse crowd of protesters — united under the banner of a “worldwide rally for freedom” — specifically wanted was unclear other than a chance to show dissent to restrictions and to gain attention.
The lack of clear purpose and demands reveals the decentralised nature of the rallies, organised by a constellation of groups and individuals ranging from full-on conspiracy theorists to frustrated citizens. They used social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as well as forwarded messages through apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
Cyprus condemns TV attack by protesters opposed to COVID measures
Police make five arrests after the violence which followed a rally by thousands of protesters in the capital, Nicosia.A protest against measures to contain the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccinations escalated on Sunday after an angry mob attacked the premises of the Cypriot television station Sigma.
Video: Eid to be celebrated differently for Muslims across Greater Sydney (Sky News Australia)
Since the start of Australia’s first lockdown in March last year, various groups and personalities have organised anti-lockdown rallies at least every month with varying levels of attendance.
An investigation by online publication Logically found that the “”, a consistent branding that’s been used for many of these anti-lockdown rallies, were seeded across the world by one German cell of anti-vaxxers.
A surprisingly small group of individuals created dozens of Facebook events and other online spaces dedicated to organising protests in different countries. Then existing personalities and groups adopted the events and their branding, organising around them. These for the most part tended to be the hardcore anti-lockdown people with conspiracy or extremist views.
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters descend on Melbourne
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters are marching through Melbourne's CBD as a simultaneous rally takes place in Sydney.Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have descended upon Melbourne's CBD as a simultaneous rally take place in Sydney.
What made this weekend different was the sheer scale and diversity of people who came with that scale. Asthe protests were attended by “anti-vaxxer groups, COVID sceptics, conspiracy theorists, QAnon supporters, wellness and fitness groups, libertarian groups and multicultural backgrounds, as well as far-right extremists”. Certainly these protests had a core of those with extreme views but they were joined by large numbers of ordinary Australians who wanted to make their displeasure known.
The size of protests since the start of the pandemic have correlated with the introduction of stricter public health measures. The first major rallies happened during the start of, then died down. Anti-lockdown groups from Victoria grew on the back of longer lockdowns last year. Then COVID-19 vaccines produced a new burst of energy. But largely interest dwindled as Australians’ lives went back to normal through much of 2020. Until now.
Two men charged after 'striking horses' at protest
The men were arrested at homes overnight after they allegedly struck police horses at an anti-lockdown rally in Sydney's CBD yesterday.Two men have been charged with animal cruelty after they allegedly struck police horses at an anti-COVID lockdown rally in Sydney's CBD yesterday.
It’s reasonable to expect that this interest, too, will die down when lockdowns ease. But in Sydney’s case that may not be for a while as themodelling how lockdowns will affect the state if they continue on into September.
There are long-term impacts from these events. Extreme organisations, including organised anti-vaxxer and far-right groups, are trying to harness this outrage and frustration by bringing people into the fold. One example is anti-lockdown/anti-vaccination groupthat has been trying to build a sustainable organisation, raise money and has registered as a political party.
As they have before, protesters have promised to rally again soon. Whether they’ll draw the same number — or more! — depends on whether many disaffected Australians exhausted from months of harsh lockdown measures still feel they aren’t being heard or helped.
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Berlin Detains 600 Anti-Lockdown Protesters Defying Ban As Police 'Harassed and Attacked' .
"They tried to break through the police cordon and pull out our colleagues. This led to the use of irritants, batons and physical violence," tweeted Berlin police.Police said that protesters "harassed and attacked" officers in the city's Charlottenburg district, according to local news outlet Deutsche Welle.