Police showed no mercy while squaring off against senior citizens at the “Freedom Camp” near Canberra’s Parliament House. In the Australian version of what’s now becoming a global trucker protest, things took a violent turn on Wednesday.
Police assault septuagenarian
In solidarity with Canadian and American Truckers fighting heavy handed vaccine mandates with protest convoys, Australian truckers formed a “Convoy to Canberra” protesting Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews’ warning that “booster shots will soon be mandatory.”
They rolled into Victoria’s capital and set up “Freedom Camp” near the Parliament building. Events escalated Wednesday when “police moved in to record number plates from vehicles deemed as being ‘parked illegally.‘”
According to reports from witnesses one 65-year-old woman was “knocked to the ground” by police. That’s when “other campers including a man in his seventies” waded in to protect her.
The rescuing defender was immediately “pepper-sprayed in the eyes, having to be carried off by bystanders.” The violent events all happened on Wednesday, February 2, local time in Australia.
Video making the rounds on social media shows people “cheering the man as he was carried away for assistance and several from the crowd came to embrace him in emotional scenes as the man pleaded to ‘hold the line‘ and to ‘keep fighting.‘”
Before they got drastic, earlier in the day police had issued a warning.
#BREAKING: Events escalated at the 'Freedom Camp' in Canberra when police moved in to record number plates from vehicles deemed as being "parked illegally".
— Avi Yemini (@OzraeliAvi) February 2, 2022
Fines and penalties
Local police were adamant that they wouldn’t permit any peaceful protesting to be done on their watch. “This afternoon ACT Policing will ensure people at this location are aware they are parked and camping illegally and may be subject to fines and other penalties.”
When they heard grumbles and snarls from the assembled crowd they added, “move-on orders may be issued in the coming days.”
The protesters may have the law on their side, but not the police. “The rights of people to peacefully protest is always acknowledged by ACT Policing, however when illegal actions take place, the people responsible will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
Some protesters “have established a camp on the grassed area where they have been united in a bid to have their messages heard by politicians.” Those keep off the grass signs aren’t there for show, cops insist.
Police backed off after the initial confrontation, in part due to being heavily outnumbered. “The camp has been steadily growing since the convoy, led by truck drivers, made its way to the nation’s capital on Monday morning.” The movement has only been growing stronger.
“Since then, waves of the convoy have made their way in trucks, buses, cars and motorcycles to protest in Canberra.” There’s been some similarly weak efforts to break up a border blockade in Canada but the Ottawa main protest is hanging tough and making their presence known in Canadian Parliament. The U.S. Convoy to DC is ramping up and gaining steam, as well.