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Australia Not all anti-lockdown protesters are conspiracy-theorists and extremists

16:06  26 july  2021
16:06  26 july  2021 Source:   crikey.com.au

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As Josh Butler reported in the New Daily the 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 One example is anti - lockdown /anti-vaccination group Reignite Democracy Australia that 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

The protesters are an eclectic mix of people, including conspiracy theorists , far-right extremists , coronavirus skeptics, and anti-vaxxers. Many of the protests have been organized by the controversial "Querdenken 711" group, which has been backed by President John F. Kennedy's nephew and anti-vaxxer Experts worry that the protests are becoming increasingly radical as more demonstrators openly identify with the conspiracy movement, QAnon. Photos show how Germany became the epicenter of Europe's anti - lockdown movement. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

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”.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Provided by Crikey

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.

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In Colorado, hundreds of anti - lockdown protesters were met with a counter protest by a few healthcare workers, who, dressed in scrubs, blocked traffic at crossroads. Hundreds in Arizona took to their cars to create a gridlock around the capitol building in Phoenix. Not all those attending are affiliated to organisations - many are simply frustrated by the lockdown strangling their ability to make a living. But far-right groups and militias have also made their presence known at some demonstrations. The rally outside the state capitol in Austin, Texas, was in part fuelled by fans of conspiracy theorist

In Texas, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars joined the crowd and shook hands with the participants. “Don't let them tell you, like the Nazis did, that you are not essential," Jones told protesters . "Whether you are old, whether you are young, whether you are black, whether you So far, there have been anti - lockdown protests in Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Annapolis, Maryland; Raleigh, North Carolina; Sacramento, California; Boise, Idaho; Salem, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Albany, New York; Trenton, New

a person standing in front of a building © Provided by Crikey

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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 “worldwide rally for freedom”, 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.

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The coronavirus is providing a global rallying cry for conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists on both sides of the Atlantic. People seizing on the pandemic range from white supremacists and anti -vaxxers in the U.S. to fascist and anti -refugee groups across Europe, according to a They also include far-right populists on both continents who had previously tried to coordinate their efforts after the 2016 American presidential election. Not all online groups peddling messages on the pandemic have links to the far right, but those extremists have become especially vocal in using the outbreak to push

The latest hot from r/ conspiracy is ‘people get sick but testing for the virus is unreliable, numbers are inflated and used to control people through fear.’ Lockdowns don’t work long run because people don’t want to be locked down . There are severe consequences to a lockdown and these protests are completely understandable. The world has imposed on itself an economic calamity like never before, and this could have far reaching consequences.

What made this weekend different was the sheer scale and diversity of people who came with that scale. As Josh Butler reported in the New Daily the 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 Victoria’s second wave last year, 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.

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Donald Trump doubles down on claim that anti - lockdown protesters are 'social distancing' in face of evidence they are not as he dismisses CDC chief calling them 'unhelpful' saying 'they want their lives back'. 'I've watched some of the protests and they're separated, a lot of space in between', Trump said Tuesday. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of North Carolina, Missouri, Alabama and Florida to demand governors bring an end to coronavirus lockdown rules and reopen the states for business on Tuesday. They were pictured standing close by to one another, disregarding the social

A DHS bulletin published on Friday said that “ anti -government, anti -authority violent extremists ” may try to “exploit the emergence of Covid-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the US as a rationale to conduct attacks.” The Covid-19 pandemic has President Joe Biden’s administration has elevated domestic “ extremism ” as a top security threat in the wake of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. Democrat politicians have hyped the riot as a racially motivated “insurrection,” and Biden in April called it “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil

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 the NSW government is reportedly modelling 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 group Reignite Democracy Australia that 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.

The post Not all anti-lockdown protesters are conspiracy-theorists and extremists appeared first on Crikey.

NSW Health investigating staff at anti-lockdown protests .
NSW Health authorities have confirmed they are investigating reports that a number of staff attended last weekend's anti-lockdown protests.NSW Health authorities have confirmed they are investigating reports that a number of staff attended last weekend's anti-lockdown protests.

usr: 1
This is interesting!