- Hundreds of protesters stormed Melbourne’s WWI Shrine of Remembrance on Wednesday afternoon
- After a tense standoff throughout the day, riot squad cops fired rubber bullets to disperse the rowdy mob
- Several protesters were arrested during start of third day of anti-vaxx demonstrations
- It came in response to the closure of the construction industry due to soaring cases of coronavirus
- Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have condemned the violence and called for calm
Police have fired rubber bullets, stinger grenades and pepper balls at anti-vaxx protesters stationed at Melbourne’s war memorial on a third day of violent demonstrations.
Around 400 people, who have been rallying to demand an end to mandatory vaccinations for construction workers, swarmed Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance which was built to honour the state’s men and women who served in the First World War.
Throughout Wednesday the mob chanted ‘lest we forget’ as they stood in front of the monument, some decked out in body armour and helmets in anticipation of a police attack while others urged officers not to arrest them out of ‘respect for the Anzacs’.
After an hours-long standoff where police offered to let protesters leave, officers opened fire to clear demonstrators who had started pelting them with bottles.
Victoria Police arrested 215 protesters throughout the day while two officers suffered head injuries, and one was taken to hospital with chest pains. Tap handles, golf balls, batteries and bottles were thrown at them from the shrine.
Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said: ‘It was completely disrespectful that the crowd ended up at the shrine, which is such hallowed ground in this great city.’
The ugly scenes came after police ordered news channels to stop broadcasting aerial images of the protests, claiming organisers were using the live feed to evade police.