Thousands of demonstrators marched through Australia’s capital city to the Parliament building on Saturday to express their opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the latest in a run of demonstrations against pandemic restrictions around the world.
After filling the streets of Canberra, demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament Buildings, some holding the red Australian ensign flag, which has become linked with “sovereign citizens” who think that national laws do not apply to them.
“Fight for Your Freedom & Rights,” “Free Aus Freedom Now,” and “No forced drugs” were among the messages inscribed over a syringe symbol on banners carried by protesters, many of them were families with children, as they marched across the city under clear skies.
The police believed that there were up to 10,000 demonstrators in attendance. According to a police spokeswoman, they were “in general, well behaved.”
Despite the fact that having the vaccine is entirely voluntary, it is normally necessary for those who are entering the country as well as those who work in a variety of professions that are judged particularly at risk, such as those who care for the elderly.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who must call a general election by the middle of May, appealed to the demonstrators to behave in a non-violent and peaceful manner.
Australian leader Kevin Rudd, though, expressed sympathy for their worries and pointed out that the states, not the federal government, were in charge of many of the vaccine obligations.