Australian reporter brands anti-vax protesters who threw urine on him 'cowards'

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Protesters gather at the Shrine of Remembrance on September 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Protests started on Monday over new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for construction workers but  turned into larger and at times violent demonstrations against lockdown restrictions in general. Melbourne is currently subject to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with people only permitted to leave home for essential reasons. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Protesters gather at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia, over new COVID vaccine requirements for construction workers. (Getty)

A reporter has branded his attackers “cowardly” after he was pelted with a can and a cup of urine as he reported on anti-vaccine protests.

Paul Dowsley, a journalist for 7 News Melbourne, was at a rally against mandatory COVID vaccines for construction workers in Melbourne, Australia, to update viewers about the protests.

But while speaking to the camera, Dowsley was attacked by protesters, who put him in a headlock, threw a can at his head and covered him in urine.

Despite the ugly scenes, Dowsley told Australia’s Sunrise programme that he was “fine” – and hit out at those who attacked him and his cameraman.

He said: “To be caught up in that way was so unexpected.

Paul Dowsley faces attacks from protesters in a separate incident while covering a rally against mandatory COVID vaccines in Melbourne, Australia. (7News)
Paul Dowsley faces attacks from protesters in a separate incident while covering a rally against mandatory COVID vaccines in Melbourne, Australia. (7News)
Dowsley was filmed being pushed into a bin by a protester. (skynews.com.au)
Dowsley was filmed being pushed into a bin by a protester. (skynews.com.au)

“I’m there to report what people are thinking and feeling, I want to report what they’re saying, I want to report their cause and I hope to get some respect and to be treated in a way that was much better than that.

“It’s such a cowardly way to behave.”

Watch: Australia deploys thousands of police officer to counter anti-lockdown protests

Dowsley added: “The back of my head has seen better days, I can’t see it but I’m told there’s a bit of a bump there and a scratch.”

Protesters refused to talk to Dowsley during his report, but he was shouted down by people who said he was not “reporting their cause”.

He told 7 News: “I’m just a journalist doing my job, doing my best to tell you the facts as they are presented to me and as I see them.”

The protests in Melbourne this week were a reaction to an announcement from the Victorian government that all construction workers must show proof of a vaccine – or an intention to do so – by Friday if they want to work.

New site rules have also been imposed, including the closure of tearooms and a total ban on eating or drinking indoors.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) has encouraged its members to get a COVID vaccination, but it has opposed it being mandatory.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Members of the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) with Victoria Police move in and fire non-lethal crowd control rounds at protesters refusing to leave the Shrine of Remembrance on September 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Protests started on Monday over new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for construction workers but  turned into larger and at times violent demonstrations against lockdown restrictions in general. Melbourne is currently subject to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with people only permitted to leave home for essential reasons. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Members of the Critical Incident Response Team with Victoria Police move in and fire non-lethal crowd control rounds at protesters refusing to leave the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Members of Victoria Police and protesters clash at the Shrine of Remembrance  on September 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Protests started on Monday over new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for construction workers but  turned into larger and at times violent demonstrations against lockdown restrictions in general. Melbourne is currently subject to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with people only permitted to leave home for essential reasons. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Members of Victoria Police and protesters clash at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty)

It says it will “always advocate for safety, jobs, and freedom of choice” – including the decision of whether to get vaccinated.

Protesters out in Melbourne this week are calling for the union to oppose the government’s vaccine mandate.

However, the union would not be able to avoid any government requirement if mandatory vaccines are brought in.

Watch: Protests in Melbourne as virus fears halt construction

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