Australian Police Break Up Trucker Protest Against Mandatory Vaccination, Lockdowns

By Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
September 29, 2021 Updated: September 29, 2021

Melbourne police have curtailed another protest against lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations after pulling over and fining a group of Australian truck drivers.

On the morning of Sept. 28, a convoy of eight trucks were moving slowly at 20 km/h (12.4 m/h) on the Tullamarine Freeway taking up one lane.

Several trucks were seen with banners saying “Freedom for Victoria” and “Freedom of Choice” plastered on the side of the vehicle, another had “Free Victoria.”

Busloads of police were subsequently transported to Port Melbourne in anticipation of the protest. Authorities eventually pulled the convoy over at around 8:30 a.m. and issued 16 fines for breaching public health orders.

The five-lane highway was reduced to two while police broke up the protest, causing morning peak hour traffic to move at a snail’s pace.

Truck drivers had originally planned to drive along the West Gate Bridge but later switched to Tullamarine Freeway.

“Victoria Police will continue to have a highly visible presence in the area to maintain public safety, and to ensure any illegal protest activity does not impact on the broader community’s right to go about their daily lives,” a Victoria Police spokesman said in a statement.

Victorian truck drivers are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination before they are allowed to cross the border into the state of New South Wales.

“These are national rules. They’re applied to keep our important freight and logistic industries operating as the lifeblood of keeping shops full and food on our tables,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters in response to the protests.

“If there’s challenges for the freight industry, individuals, drivers, then I’m sure we can work through those with the sector as we have.”

The protest by the transport workers follows a week of civil unrest and large scale demonstrations by Australians in Melbourne’s central business district.

Epoch Times Photo
Protestors are seen marching down the Westgate Bridge as thousands march through Melbourne after State Government announces construction shutdown in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 21, 2021. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The protest began when hundreds of construction workers gathered at the headquarters of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Melbourne demanding the head of the organisation, John Setka, stand down.

The Victorian government soon after ordered the construction industry to shut down for two weeks as of Sept. 21, citing concerns with compliance with public health orders.

However, the protests escalated, and soon thousands took to the streets around Melbourne over several days, protesting in front of the state Parliament, along the West Gate Bridge, and the Shrine of Remembrance.

In response to the protests, the Victorian state government ramped up the police presence around the city.

Rebecca Zhu