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Second coronavirus case at anti-vaccine rally in Melbourne as park protests run out of steam

By on September 26, 2021 0

Mr Weimar said police officers who were exposed to the first COVID-positive protester continued to isolate themselves, but none had tested positive for the virus so far.

He said the man in his 30s was likely contagious when he attended a rally last week.

Protesters swept through St Kilda on Saturday. Credit:Justin mcmanus

“When you see so many people on the street together, all doing things that go against instructions, whatever the reason you’re there, it’s an absolute risk,” Mr. Weimar.

“So if you’re going to hang out in a crowd of 500, then if there are people who are HIV positive there… there’s a good chance that’s where you’re going to see a spread.

“Protesters are not immune to these transmission risks.”

Some organizers of last week’s protests have called for a day off from Sunday’s protests, while others have referred to picnic gatherings in parks around Victoria via the Telegram encrypted messaging app.

Protesters march towards Melbourne's West Gate Bridge.

Protesters march towards Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge.Credit:Jason South

Some protesters were planning to meet in public in large groups on Sunday – against instructions from the chief medical officer – to exchange details in suburbs such as Northcote, Werribee, Oakleigh and Dandenong.

But no significant anti-vaccine rally has taken place, with Victoria Police continuing to patrol parts of Melbourne’s CBD throughout the day.

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According to organizers online, a suggested protest picnic site in Whittlesea was revised on Sunday, due to “known magpie attacks at Lions Club Park.”

The slowdown in protest activity comes after a week of clashes and increased vitriol between those opposing the vaccine warrants and Victoria Police, which began outside the offices of Construction, Forestry, on Monday Maritime, Mining and Energy Union in Melbourne’s CBD, boosted by the closure of the construction industry.

Traffic was halted on Tuesday, with large crowds of protesters flocking to the west gate bridge, chanting and throwing projectiles at police. On Wednesday, in chaotic scenes, thousands of protesters converged on the Shrine of Remembrance, only dispersing when the riot squad moved out firing rubber bullets and pepper spray.

Luna Park and St Kilda Beach were designated as the rallying point for protesters on Saturday, but an overwhelming police presence along the foreshore overpowered the hundreds of people gathered within an hour.

After reports that anti-vaccine campaigners may have made COVID-19 vaccine appointments and not show up, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said this was’ not the kind of behavior we want see “.

“You can have a point of view, but don’t stop other people from expressing their point of view by pretending to make an appointment,” he said. “This means that someone who wants to show up and get vaccinated so they can save their life and the lives of others cannot get an appointment. It just doesn’t make sense.

“It is not the right thing to do if, in fact, this is happening.”

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