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Covid Australia: TV networks hire security guards to protect reporters at anti-vax protests

Melbourne‘s recent anti-vax protests have been marred by violence, including against reporters covering the demonstrations.

And TV networks are now hiring security to protect journalists on the ground, leading to a ‘shortage of guards’ in the city, reports The Australian.

The head of one Melbourne security firm told the newspaper: ‘The situation has been quite unique, with the level and type of protest.’

Under siege: Melbourne’s recent anti-vax protests have been marred by violence, including against reporters covering the demonstrations. Pictured: Seven News reporter Paul Dowsley

Seven News reporter Paul Dowsley has been assigned a security detail after being soaked in urine following a violent attack at the protest last Tuesday. 

He was not protected while covering Monday and Tuesday’s protests last week.

Channel Nine reporter Christine Ahern was harassed by a demonstrator on Wednesday when she tried to provide an update on the scene in Melbourne’s CBD. 

‘We’re marching with the second group of protesters. We’ve been following them all around the city and now we’re going up Swanston street,’ she said. 

Sickening: TV networks are now hiring security to protect journalists on the ground, leading to a 'shortage of guards' in the city, reports The Australian. Mr Dowsley has now been assigned a security detail after covering the protests unprotected last week

Sickening: TV networks are now hiring security to protect journalists on the ground, leading to a ‘shortage of guards’ in the city, reports The Australian. Mr Dowsley has now been assigned a security detail after covering the protests unprotected last week

Grabbed: Channel Nine reporter Christine Ahern was harassed by a demonstrator on Wednesday when she tried to provide an update on the scene in Melbourne's CBD

Grabbed: Channel Nine reporter Christine Ahern was harassed by a demonstrator on Wednesday when she tried to provide an update on the scene in Melbourne’s CBD 

A group of men clad in fluorescent-yellow vests then started to heckle the reporter, forcing her to apologise for their crude language.

‘I do apologise for the language, one again they are very fired up and unfortunately at the media as well,’ she shouted over the noise of the protesters.  

One man passing the live cross tried to roughly grab her microphone, before turning his attention to a man taking photos of the unruly crowds. 

‘I’m okay, I’m okay,’ she reassured her colleagues as protesters sounded air horns and gestured aggressively at the camera. 

One attendee wearing a black balaclava and large ski goggles could be heard yelling ‘fake news, it’s fake news’ as he passed Ms Ahern and her cameraman. 

‘Look we’re not going to be intimidated, we’re going to keep on giving you what is happening here,’ the brave reporter continued.   

‘I’ve been hearing them say “keep moving, keep moving away from the police” because there are some police that are following us.  

‘Police are determined for this not to become another game of cat and mouse but it’s exactly what it’s turned into again.’

'Look we're not going to be intimidated': A group of men clad in fluorescent-yellow vests started to heckle the reporter, forcing her to apologise for their crude language

‘Look we’re not going to be intimidated’: A group of men clad in fluorescent-yellow vests started to heckle the reporter, forcing her to apologise for their crude language

Ms Arhern’s altercation with angry protesters came less than 24 hours after Mr Dowsley of Seven News copped his own share of abuse. 

The veteran newsman was reporting on the anti-vaxxer protests on Tuesday when he was jumped by one demonstrator who grabbed him around the neck. 

He said during his time on the scene he’d been spat on and doused with urine, including in his mouth when open bottles were thrown at him. 

‘My colleague and I are covered in what I understand to be urine,’ he said live on air as he described the attack to the appalled newsreaders in the studio. 

‘To put it lightly, I’m not a fighter, I’ve never thrown a punch in my life, so in those situations I thought I’d be quick to make a move,’ he said.

‘But that guy came in to my side very quickly – I did my best to get out of what felt like a headlock.

‘My [cameraman] colleague Rick, who was standing on a seat trying to get an elevated shot, jumped down with his camera and came to my assistance.

‘Some other people came in and tried break it up – they did try to defuse it.

‘I will give credit to some protesters who stopped in the minutes after to check I was okay and one made a point of telling me that’s not what they were about.

‘He was disgusted by any attack like that on media.’

Reporter Paul Dowsley (pictured) said during his time at the scene in Melbourne's CBD he was spat on, doused with urine, including in his mouth when open bottles were thrown at him

Reporter Paul Dowsley (pictured) said during his time at the scene in Melbourne’s CBD he was spat on, doused with urine, including in his mouth when open bottles were thrown at him

A woman is detained in Melbourne as demonstrators return to the streets for another day of protests against mandatory Covid vaccinations on Wednesday

A woman is detained in Melbourne as demonstrators return to the streets for another day of protests against mandatory Covid vaccinations on Wednesday

Footage from the CBD shows dozens of police officers handcuffing at least three male and two female demonstrators on Wednesday (pictured, police detain a woman)

Footage from the CBD shows dozens of police officers handcuffing at least three male and two female demonstrators on Wednesday (pictured, police detain a woman)

About 2,000 tradesmen and anti-vaccination and freedom campaigners rampaged through the city for ten hours last Tuesday to demonstrate against a two-week shutdown of the construction industry imposed due to rising Covid cases. 

Protesters first gathered outside CFMEU’s boarded-up union head office that morning, chanting ‘f**k the jab’ and singing Advance Australia Fair.

They blame the union for not doing enough to oppose mandatory vaccines for construction workers.

About 2,000 tradesmen and anti-vaccination and freedom campaigners rampaged through the city for ten hours on Tuesday (pictured, men detained by police on Wednesday)

About 2,000 tradesmen and anti-vaccination and freedom campaigners rampaged through the city for ten hours on Tuesday (pictured, men detained by police on Wednesday)

Protestors are demonstrating against a two-week shutdown of the construction industry imposed due to rising Covid cases (pictured, men detained by police on Wednesday)

Protestors are demonstrating against a two-week shutdown of the construction industry imposed due to rising Covid cases (pictured, men detained by police on Wednesday)

Police have vowed they would be better prepared for violence since being caught off guard on Tuesday when crowds turned on both attending media and police (pictured, police detain protestors near the CFMEU building on Wednesday)

Police have vowed they would be better prepared for violence since being caught off guard on Tuesday when crowds turned on both attending media and police (pictured, police detain protestors near the CFMEU building on Wednesday)

Police arrested 62 people on Tuesday after wild videos circulated on social media of officers being attacked with fists, bottles and other projectiles.  

Another anti-lockdown protest was set to go ahead on Saturday but a massive police presence saw the demonstration flop. 

On Sunday, demonstrators gathered for ‘protest picnics’ at parks in Melbourne.  

MELBOURNE ANTI-VAXXER PROTESTERS’ LIST OF DEMANDS

1. Emergency state powers to be removed immediately

2. Lockdowns to end immediately

3. Mask mandate to end immediately

4. Vaccine mandates to end immediately

5. Vaccine passport to be removed

6. Immediate resignation of Premier Daniel Andrews

7. Immediate resignation of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton

8. Immediate resignation of Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton

9. Royal commission into government’s response to pandemic

10. Charges laid against officers for ‘assaulting peaceful protesters’

11. All construction sites to resume immediately.

12. Mass distribution of invermectin, vitamins C, D, and zinc


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