Over a dozen of anti-lockdown protesters were arrested Saturday in Melbourne, as those deliberately flouting stay-at-home orders clashed with Australian police.
Ignoring official warnings and public health orders, several hundred people gathered at an illegal protest — promoted by several virus-related conspiracy theory groups online — calling for an end to lockdown measures.
A huge police presence responded, arresting 17 as the crowd chanted “freedom” and “scam” towards lines of officers who repeatedly attempted to move people on.
Two protesters were seen raising their arms in a Nazi salute at officers and yelling “Heil Dan”, comparing the state of Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews to Adolf Hitler, while standing on the forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance — a war memorial which partly commemorates Australians killed fighting in World War II.
Demonstrators moved to a nearby park before being surrounded by police and eventually dispersing.
Officers said they issued 160 fines for breaching health orders and were expecting to hand out more in the coming days.
Several attendees told AFP they were protesting the government’s response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 865,000 people around the world, labelling it overblown or an outright “scam”.
“We are in a city where the cure from Daniel Andrews is actually worse than what’s happening,” protester Fiona Kat said.
The “Freedom Day” events were largely promoted by several loosely-connected groups online that espouse anti-vaccination and virus-related conspiracy theories.
Rallies were also held around the country, with 14 people arrested at protests in Sydney and Byron Bay.
Despite Victoria’s second wave, Australia has dealt relatively well with the virus allowing the rest of the country to roll back restrictions.
The nation has recorded over 26,200 cases and 748 deaths in a population of 25 million.
Before the protest, Victorian premier Andrews told people to stay home and warned the gathering could jeopardise a path out of lockdown, which is expected to be outlined on Sunday.
“It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful,” he told media.
“In fact, it is absolutely selfish.”
The War in the Shadows: Challenges of Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang | Trailer
Challenges Of Fighting Terrorism In Xinjiang: The Black Hands
For years, extremists in and out of Xinjiang have turned to the internet to spread their separatist ideologies. Recruitment and propaganda videos, including some that taught how to make weapons such as explosives, were being uploaded online. To counter this threat, Xinjiang’s internet guardians have been actively scanning the internet for suspicious materials and activities.
This is one of many stories in CGTN’s exclusive documentary “The war in the shadows: Challenges of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.” Watch the full documentary here.
The War In The Shadows: Challenges Of Fighting Terrorism In Xinjiang
Xinjiang, in the far western land of China, hosted one of the world’s first and most important trade routes known as the Silk Road, which linked ancient Chinese civilization to the West through the Eurasian continent.
The land of fortune, however, has not always enjoyed tranquility. Thousands of terrorist attacks from 1990 through 2016 killed large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers. Horrific stabbings and bombings wrecked the land, leaving its people in shock, grief and panic. The damage was incalculable while stability in the region quickly deteriorated. Authorities have been trying hard to restore peace to this land.
In CGTN’s first three documentaries on fighting terrorism in Xinjiang, we presented never-before-seen footage documenting the frightening tragedies in Xinjiang and the resilience of its people.
The fourth exposé “The war in the shadows: Challenges of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang” – the last of the tetralogy – exposes the extremist thinking and the challenges facing China’s efforts to tackle terrorism inside and outside Xinjiang.
It gives answers to these questions: Why has violent terrorism continued to plague Xinjiang? For those who were once known as “Two-faced people” among the legal and political elites in Xinjiang, how much damage have they done to anti-terrorism efforts in the region? How come poisonous education materials alleging ethnic victimization and “Turkic heroes” have been used for 13 years in primary and middle schools? Why must we stop the invisible hand of foreign advocacy abetting violent terrorism infiltrating our country?
The documentary reveals the methods used by extremist and separatist forces including the “Two-faced people” among the region’s high-ranking officials, as well as how music and videos advocating violent terrorism and inciting ethnic hatred penetrated the region. Plus, it also tells of the very hardship police officers have been mired in for decades.
Over the past four years, violence has largely been contained, giving way to rapid urbanization and economic growth. Safety and tranquility never come easy. But it’s only a preliminary victory in China’s fight against terrorism.
The documentary is 55 minutes long and consists of four parts: “The network,” “Enemies within,” “The textbooks,” and “The black hands.”
We present you with the first three documentaries — each under an hour — below.
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