Protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates break out in Australia ahead of elections

On Saturday rallies against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, were held across Australian cities, calling on voters to vote against all major parties in the upcoming federal election on May 21.

Thousands of protesters in Melbourne marched from Parliament to Treasury Gardens under the banner “sack them all”.

In Sydney, more than a thousand people gathered outside Customs House waving flags, also chanting “sack them all”.

However, protesters did not endorse the anti-government message of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

Flyers for the rally appeared under the banners of organisations including the Australian Freedom Rally, RiseUp Sydney, Millions March, The People’s Revolution and Reclaim the Line.

“This coming election is going to be a green light or a red light to those sorts of people,” one speaker told the crowd.

One banner held by some protesters read: “Serve the people, no big pharma, no govt coercion, no police bullying”.

Rallies were also planned for other Australian capital cities.

Australian lockdowns, strict COVID-19 policy

At the start of the pandemic, Australia was one of the countries implementing strict COVID-19 policies. Since March 2020 only some people were allowed to travel to the country. The Australian government only reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors from all around the world on February 21, 2022.

The country lost billions of dollars due to restrictions imposed by the government. According to a report published by Tourism Research Australia in early 2022, total losses in the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic amounted to USD 72 billion.

Despite strict COVID-19 policies Australia recorded 6,552,073 cases to date, in a population of 26,050,091.