Truckies and anti-vaxxers unite for protest against COVID-19 health measures

convoy to canberra

Crowds at Parliament House protesting COVID-19 restrictions. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

A convoy of trucks and cars have clogged the nation’s capital in the latest demonstration from fringe groups protesting against COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions, as Victoria’s Premier warned the definition of “fully vaccinated” could soon change.

An apparent off-shoot of a Canadian protest originally objecting to a new vaccine mandate for truckies, the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ convened around Parliament House yesterday afternoon with truck drivers, freedom rally participants, and “sovereign citizens” making up much of the crowd.

The Australian Federal Police were on hand as protesters held signs reading the Trumpian message “Make Australia Great Again” while others waved upside down Australian and red ensign flags — a distress signal.

The protesters demanded someone from the government emerge from the building to hear their demands, but parliament does not resume until February 8.

The Convoy to Canberra is a local spin on the Freedom Convoy in Canada, where a peaceful movement from truckies was co-opted by conservative and fringe groups to demand the eradication of all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates.

Nazi symbolism seen on signs prompted Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to slam the movement as an “insult to truth”.

The Canberra protest at least partly involving logistics staff comes at a difficult time where supply chains are already choking from workforce shortages, exacerbated by flooding in South Australia when parts of the railway linking the eastern states with Perth — the country’s “umbilical cord” — were washed away.

Unlike its Canadian counterpart, which has raised over $10 million to provide truckies with accommodation, food and fuel, the Canberra convoy’s fundraiser has accumulated $160,000 in donations. But the money was frozen by GoFundMe until the anonymous organiser comes forward to verify their identity.

It’s also been pledged to just one person — West Australian James Greer — who says he’ll drive his camper van to Canberra to protest vaccine mandates.

Harrison McLean, an organiser of Melbourne’s freedom rallies and of the Victorian contingent of protesters, said the demonstrations would “continue until our demands are met”.

The protest comes as Daniel Andrews warned booster shots may soon be required for Victorians to be considered fully vaccinated.

“There has already been some mandating done for third doses, and there will be more,” Andrews said on Sunday.

Today an admin from the 2022 Official Convoy to Canberra page urged protesters to be calm, saying the movement “make[s] no impact as a rowdy, rude, abusive or agitated crowd”.

“Reacting to agitators or threats from people or police, plays right into the hands of the media and the government. There are many families here and we need to all focus on keeping people safe. This is a peaceful convoy.”

But another person posted about creating a “barricade” that locks in Parliament’s new and old houses.

“Surrounding it completely will be a huge inconvenience, for all the staffers, that work there, and also the pollies when they arrive,” the post read.

“It will also affect them $$$, if tourists cant get through easily.”

The Convoy to Canberra has no links to the union, a spokesperson from the Transport Workers Union says, who confirmed it had not condoned or endorsed the movement.

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critical thinker
critical thinker
3 months ago

Seriously you should be embarrassed with your reporting on this. Wanting freedom of choice doesn’t make you an ‘anti-vaxxer’. You and all the other media outlets pushing this negative slant on these issues should be ashamed of yourselves.

Shane Fisher
Shane Fisher
3 months ago

But you already have real Freedom, you live in a Democratic country! If you really want to protest about not having real Freedom go to China, Mynamar, Russia. Also in a democracy with real Freedom, there is something called Civic Duty, meaning doing the right thing by your fellow humans living in the same Democracy. Think critically about that.

Ken Worth
Ken Worth
3 months ago

Even with mandates, you still have freedom of choice. You just don’t like the consequences of your choices! Grow up, man up & accept your responsibilities that come hand in hand with your rights!

JSB
JSB
3 months ago

So to be clear, the Omicron variant sweeping Australia is internationally recognised as an ‘escape variant’ meaning that previous infections and the current vaccine offerings don’t work against Omicron, so why have we bought 125,000,000 Pfizer boosters for 2022, at US$24 ea for a total of A$4B??

Meanwhile, Andrews is threatening those already double-vaxxed with removing their ‘status’ in an attempt to enforce boosters.

Based on what ‘science’ exactly?

The lack of critical thinking around this whole issue supports Professor Mattias Desmet’s view of the formation of a mass psychosis.

As Marcus Aurelias noted, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

“Beam me up, Scotty …”

Shane Fisher
Shane Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  JSB

Most of the governmental approach is based on medical advice. Sure they stuff up on some aspects. But the approach of the protesters, while not liking having a choice, isn’t based on any critical thinking, mostly tin foil hat stuff. A country mile away from any medical evidence based stuff. I can’t understand why it so hard to do the right thing, it is just seems easier to whinge about it and make up stuff.

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Shane Fisher

The only tin foil hat being worn is by people like you that cannot differentiate that this so called jab is not working. Any medical advice that has been given has been changed time and time again, not to support science but a narrative which the government first put forward but are now too narrow minded to say that they were wrong.

Ima Vaccinated
Ima Vaccinated
3 months ago
Reply to  JSB

Seriously man, What planet are you and your antivax mob living on? Just look at the real stats from real DEAD people. MULTIPLE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE WITHOUT A JAB OR BOOSTER. Before you and you like go ranting on get to Specsavers for a checkup cause you are blind.

Tony Palladino
Tony Palladino
3 months ago

So EMMA ELSWORTHY, how di you come to the opinion that this group is a fringe group? Where is your evidence. This is biased reporting and you should be embarrassed as a supposed professional to report truth in an objective manner. Seems you missed the ethics class on reporting facts and not opinions.

Disappointed1972
Disappointed1972
3 months ago

Disappointed to see SmartCompany jumping on the main stream media bandwagon and calling everyone Anti Vaxxers. The issue is the coercion and removal of human rights and the abuse of power by our government. How about going against the grain and try reporting without prejudice and sensationalism? That would be refreshing. The constant barrage of clearly biased reporting from SmartCompany has me questioning whether to continue subscribing as I can easily read junk articles such as this anywhere on the internet. Shame on you for not having the ethics to report with impartiality. Where have all the real journalists gone who used to look for the truth behind the story and not just regurgitate a paid for narrative.

Cactus
Cactus
3 months ago

How does Andrews stand up there and keep enforcing the same narrative that was invalid 2 years ago and is even more invalid now. Omicron has completely wiped out the discussion of vaccines and boosters with absolutely zero scientific evidence that vaccines or boosters have any impact on transmissability, face masks absolutely do not have any effect on the spread of this disease and the risk benefit ratio of vaccines and boosters is almost worse to be vaccinated than not. The risk of myocarditis and pericarditis from the vaccines, ESPECIALLY in children is so high that continuing to promote them, let alone mandate them is completely insane. Denmark is the country we should be looking at, they seem to be the only western society that has their head screwed on and is actually following the science.

Matty
Matty
3 months ago

They demanded someone to come out lol , No one is there for another six days ..fair dinkum , how stupid are these anti vaxxers.

Markac
Markac
3 months ago

Being anti mandate doesn’t make automatically make you an ant-vaxxer. It just means you support the right to choose what is injected into your body. Calling everyone anti-vaxxers just makes you sound like that slimy socialist Justin Trudeau.

Sense of a commoner
Sense of a commoner
3 months ago

Would you care to explain exactly what a ‘Sovereign Citizen’ is?
Would it not be a contradiction?

MichaelM
MichaelM
3 months ago

Yet another demonstration of journalism mediocrity. why are you confusing antivaxers with freedom of choice. I’m fully vaccinated with 3 doses and I firmly believe this form of discrimination. Discriminating on any basis is never right!

Goa
Goa
3 months ago

The “Nazi” symbol was one person, followed by a photographer, that was quickly expelled from the event. Maybe 5 minutes worth, obviously a plant.

Kylie Mcgee
Kylie Mcgee
3 months ago

Low grade journalism right there
Freedom to OUR rights, protesting against laws being fabricated by the governments does not make you an anti vaxxer.

Shane Fisher
Shane Fisher
3 months ago

I couldn’t make it with my galloping half coconuts and Braveheart makeup. Otherwise that would have made the protest more affective and riled up! FREEEEEDOOOOOMMM!

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