Australian Cities Gripped by Anti-Vaccination Mandate, Pandemic Law Protests - Videos
13:04 GMT 12.12.2021 (Updated: 13:10 GMT 12.12.2021)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Thousands of Australians took to the streets in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), and Melbourne's central business district (CBD), in the state of Victoria, to challenge vaccination mandates and Victoria's new pandemic laws.
Protesters in Victoria were heard screaming "Free Victoria" as they marched through Melbourne's CBD, 9News has reported.
The crowds were protesting the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment Bill passed in the Victorian Parliament last week and which will allow the health minister to make public orders for the COVID-19 as well as other pandemics such as mask-wearing and vaccination mandates, lockdowns, and quarantines. On Friday, Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews noted that the bill would come into effect on 15 December.
The protesters could be heard chanting for their freedom, as it has been previously argued that the introduced bill would give the premier too much power.
Some stressed that the protests were not about being anti-vaxxer, but pro-choice as they opposed mandatory vaccination and the introduction of vaccine passports in NSW.
Demonstrations are also planned in other parts of the country including Perth, Canberra, Hobart, and Queensland.
Positive COVID-19 cases in the country are on the rise despite 89.2% of people over the age of 16 having had both doses of the vaccination. With 487 locally acquired new cases in the last 24 hours, Australia's total number of infected people rose to 15,724.