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Silent protests erupt at government buildings around Australia

Thousands of Australians have unleashed on state governments around the country by holding dozens of coordinated ‘silent protests’ against never-ending lockdowns and compulsory Covid-19 vaccination.

There were 79 separate demonstrations across NSW alone on Tuesday, with police arresting more than 150 people for breaking health orders banning gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

Just after 5pm on Tuesday, NSW Police confirmed officers had arrested 153 people and issued almost 600 fines across various pockets of NSW.

Others were charged with a variety of offences including various breaches of the public health order, assault police, resist arrest, refusing to comply with police direction, and failing to move on.

A total of 573 fines were issued to members of the public, including not wear fitted masked covering in prescribed outdoor gathering ($500), not comply with noticed direction re s7/8/9 – COVID-19 ($1000), and unlawfully participate in outdoor public gathering – stay at home order ($3000).

Police responded to 79 unauthorised protests, during which three officers received minor injuries following interactions with protestors at Lismore, Murwillumbah and Raymond Terrace. 

Similar protests occurred outside government buildings and police stations in Melbourne and Queensland in what has been dubbed ‘Shut Down Australia Day’.

The rallies were meant to be peaceful, but the Queensland Parliament was forced to lock down after one protester tried to break into the chamber.

One protester in Sydney is seen being taken away in handcuffs by police on Tuesday

Police are seen speaking to a group of unmasked Sydneysiders at a silent protest on Macquarie Street

Police are seen speaking to a group of unmasked Sydneysiders at a silent protest on Macquarie Street

One man smiles as he is walked away in handcuffs by police during a silent protest in Sydney

One man smiles as he is walked away in handcuffs by police during a silent protest in Sydney

Eleven rallies were held in Sydney’s south-west, which remains the centre of the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

The protests were initially organised by truck drivers furious at vaccine mandates given to those in Sydney’s 12 LGA hotspots and any essential workers travelling into Queensland.

However, others have since hijacked the rallies to call for an end to lockdowns, Covid restrictions, and vaccine mandates.

Since Monday authorised workers from the LGAs have been unable to their area unless they’ve had one dose of the vaccine. This also applies to essential workers entering Queensland.

Truckies around the country are also required to be tested every few days.

But truck drivers resent the rule changes and say they should have the freedom to live how they choose.

About 50 protesters met outside the Sutherland Shire Council building in Sutherland, south of Sydney, on Tuesday morning.

Police quickly arrived at the scene and dispersed the growing crowd with a handful of protesters arrested.

Similar scenes were seen in Sydney’s CBD and in the east with a silent protest also taking place outside the Waverley Council building.

In Blacktown, in the city’s west, a scuffle  erupted between a woman and police. She cried out ‘I do not consent’ as offices tried to detain her while others chanted ‘my body, my choice’.

In Fairfield, which has seen an alarmingly high number of Covid infections, police were seen telling the dozens that had gathered to protest to leave or face fines.

As many as 50 people were seen outside the Sutherland Shire Council building in Sutherland, south Sydney, on Tuesday morning (pictured)

As many as 50 people were seen outside the Sutherland Shire Council building in Sutherland, south Sydney, on Tuesday morning (pictured)

One man is held down by police in Melbourne during a failed anti-lockdown protest on Tuesday

One man is held down by police in Melbourne during a failed anti-lockdown protest on Tuesday

Police are seen handcuffing another man in Melbourne during 'freedom' rallies around the country

Police are seen handcuffing another man in Melbourne during ‘freedom’ rallies around the country

Members of the crowd yelled out ‘you serve us’ as many refused to leave the area.

‘We’ve got no money, no jobs bro!’ one man called out to the officer, referencing the lockdown imposed in the area, which is stricter than the rest of Sydney.

‘We can’t feed our kids mate, I can’t pay my rent!’.

Not all protests attracted a crowd – only four people showed in Dubbo in western NSW and didn’t hang around for long after seeing police pull up.

Grafton, in northern NSW, saw one of the biggest turnouts with about 100 people silently protesting outside the Clarence Valley council building. Many were arrested after refusing to move on.  

In Mullumbimby, near Byron Bay, a group of protesters were seen eerily humming as they stood near a local hall. 

Twenty-four protests were held in the state’s northern rivers region on Tuesday.

Police speak to a group of protesters that gathered together in Martin Place in Sydney on Tuesday

Police speak to a group of protesters that gathered together in Martin Place in Sydney on Tuesday

One woman is led away by NSW officers in Sydney following a series of silent anti-lockdown protests

One woman is led away by NSW officers in Sydney following a series of silent anti-lockdown protests

A range of protest groups have called August 31 'Shut Down Australia' day, with rallies arranged at government buildings around the country

A range of protest groups have called August 31 ‘Shut Down Australia’ day, with rallies arranged at government buildings around the country

Just 10 residents in Goulburn, in NSW’s Southern Tablelands, gathered outside the council chambers with police aware of 13 rallies in the state’s southern regions.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said several officers involved had suffered ‘minor’ injuries during the day of chaos.

‘It’s very disappointing that people would think this was appropriate behaviour in the current circumstances,’ he said.

‘We are very comfortable with free speech… but when that’s with contravention to the public health order, police will not tolerate it.’ 

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed those willing to put the community at risk by protesting amid the state’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

‘There’s a certain group who are unfortunately spending more time on social media and listening to people with crackpot ideas than you will have reading the scientific journals and talking to the doctors,’ he said. 

‘My advice is to talk to your doctor about what you should be doing to stop this virus.’ 

Police are seen taking away one protester during the silent demonstration in Sydney on Tuesday

Police are seen taking away one protester during the silent demonstration in Sydney on Tuesday

A woman is seen in the back of a paddywagon following silent protests around Australia on Tuesday (pictured in Sydney)

A woman is seen in the back of a paddywagon following silent protests around Australia on Tuesday (pictured in Sydney)

Hundreds gathered together outside the Gold Coast Council Chambers building on Tuesday, protesting Queensland's Covid-19 vaccine mandate

Hundreds gathered together outside the Gold Coast Council Chambers building on Tuesday, protesting Queensland’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate

Victorian police are seen tackling one man to the ground as protests failed to get off the ground in Melbourne

Victorian police are seen tackling one man to the ground as protests failed to get off the ground in Melbourne

Pictured are Gold Coast residents with their backs against the council chambers

Pictured are Gold Coast residents with their backs against the council chambers

In Queensland, which is not in lockdown, hundreds gathered together outside the Gold Coast Council Chambers.

Police reinforcements were also sent to the Gold Coast City Hall due to fears anti-vaxxers were threatening to storm the building.

Frustrated residents called on the government to reverse its vaccine requirement for essential workers.

Many stood with their backs against the council building while staring silently at the ground. 

Meanwhile, the Queensland state parliament building in Brisbane was completely locked down due to the mass of 150 protesters gathered outside.

At least one protester had tried to enter the chamber.

The protest followed a fiery start to question time in which Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was forced to defend the decision to allow NRL WAGs and officials to fly into Queensland on Monday afternoon.

Speaker Curtis Pitt said the protest related to voluntary assisted dying legislation, due to be debated by the Queensland Parliament this week. 

The silent protest outside the Gold Coast Council Chambers is seen on Tuesday

The silent protest outside the Gold Coast Council Chambers is seen on Tuesday

Police watched the silent protest unfold outside the Gold Coast City Council on Tuesday

Police watched the silent protest unfold outside the Gold Coast City Council on Tuesday

Demonstrators sat silently outside the Queensland Parliament House building

Demonstrators sat silently outside the Queensland Parliament House building 

An officer is seen behind the fence of the Parliament building in Queensland as protesters linger outside

An officer is seen behind the fence of the Parliament building in Queensland as protesters linger outside

It’s believed a small, peaceful protest by those opposed to the euthanasia bill were joined by people protesting against ‘vaccination passports’.

This including Queensland’s recent introduction of a rule requiring essential workers coming into the state from NSW to have had one shot of a Covid vaccine. 

Police advised the Speaker there had been ‘an attempted intrusion of the precinct’. Members were not allowed in or out of the parliamentary chamber.

A large banner reading: ‘No vaxx passports. Our body, our choice!’ was hung up on the fence guarding the government building and police kept a watchful eye on protesters. 

Things turned violent when Queensland Police tried to arrest an elderly woman who repeatedly called out ‘I do not consent’.

Protesters had tried to encircle officers with pieces of clothing like scarves and shirts as the crowd chanted ‘Let her go’.

She was eventually dragged away from the area while protesters hurled abuse towards the police involved. 

One Queenslander donned a yellow star that read: 'I want to live in a free country' during demonstrations on Tuesday

One Queenslander donned a yellow star that read: ‘I want to live in a free country’ during demonstrations on Tuesday

Meanwhile the Queensland state parliament building was completely locked down due to the mass of protesters gathered outside

Meanwhile the Queensland state parliament building was completely locked down due to the mass of protesters gathered outside

Police are seen speaking to protesters outside Queensland's Parliament House

Police are seen speaking to protesters outside Queensland’s Parliament House

Queenslanders are seen outside the state's parliament building on Tuesday amid silent protests around Australia

Queenslanders are seen outside the state’s parliament building on Tuesday amid silent protests around Australia

Some assumed the protests were about Queensland’s border restrictions and its two-week pause to hotel quarantine for interstate hotspot arrivals from NSW, Victoria, and the ACT.

‘No wonder… letting sports teams and their families in while others can’t come in to the state to visit dying family members,’ one person wrote online. 

More residents banded together for a silent protest in Tewantin in Noosa with demonstrators standing shoulder to shoulder. 

Melbourne was no different with most residents detained before a protest could even kick off. 

Shocking photos show one man being held down by police near the Victorian Government House. Others were taken away in handcuffs while mounted police stood firm outside the government building.

Melbournians are in the midst of their sixth lockdown due to a recent outbreak of the Delta variant. 

All up, residents of the city have endured more than 210 days under strict stay at home orders. 

One man is surrounded by Victorian police officers during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Tuesday

One man is surrounded by Victorian police officers during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Tuesday

Melbournians are in the midst of their sixth lockdown due to a recent outbreak of the Delta variant

Melbournians are in the midst of their sixth lockdown due to a recent outbreak of the Delta variant

A woman is seen being arrested during an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Tuesday

A woman is seen being arrested during an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Tuesday


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