Protesters' ‘appalling’ act to vaccination staff: ‘Uncalled for’

·3-min read

Premier Daniel Andrews has condemned the "appalling behaviour" seen at a Melbourne vaccination centre, with staff spat on during protests on Wednesday.

Victoria recorded the highest number of daily cases on Thursday since the start of the pandemic with 766 more announced, surpassing the peak seen last year.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Andrews expressed his disgust at people participating in ongoing protests who were spitting on staff working at the vaccination centre at Town Hall.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp looks on from Melbourne Town Hall as protesters rally against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations and a two week shutdown of the construction industry, in Melbourne,
Cohealth Central City and cohealth Melbourne Town Hall Vaccination centre were forced to close following demonstrations. Source: AAP

That centre has now had to close.

"Due to a disruptive demonstration in the city, cohealth Central City and cohealth Melbourne Town Hall Vaccination centre have been forced to close for client and staff safety," cohealth said on Twitter.

"We hope to be safe to open by Monday 27 September so we can continue providing health care to our city."

'Ugly' behaviour at Melbourne vaccination centre

Mr Andrews said those who were spitting at vaccination staff were people "pretending to be legitimate protesters".

"That's not called for, these people are doing the very best of work," the premier said.

"They are vaccinating people, providing people with close to certainty — not absolute but close to certainty that they will not become gravely ill.

"Why would you abuse, as I'm told, why would you spit on people who are doing that sort of work? That is ugly, that is uncalled for."

He said he is not sure if those spitters could be identified, but if they can, he expects Victoria Police will "deal with them".

Pictured is Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on the left and a crowd of people at the Shrine of Remembrance
Premier Daniel Andrews said staff working at a vaccination centre were spat on. Source: AAP/Getty Images

Shrine of Remembrance demonstration slammed

Melbourne is bracing for a fourth day of protests, as police say few demonstrators are tradies angered by mandatory COVID-19 vaccines or the construction industry shutdown.

A mob of 400 to 600 again swarmed the Victorian capital on Wednesday, despite stay-at-home orders and repeated warnings from authorities.

Demonstrators were seen at the Shrine of Remembrance, not wearing masks, some wearing high-vis clothing, leading to a tense standoff with police.

The premier slammed the demonstration at the Shrine as "disgusting".

"It's a sacred place. It's a place where we honour the sacrifice of those who gave so much, and it's just not appropriate to be there," he said.

RSL Victoria said the mob had disrespected the sanctity of the sacred site.

Shrine of Remembrance chief executive Dean Lee told ABC on Thursday "there had been urination on the walls of the Shrine of Remembrance, which is disgusting that those sort of things should have occurred, and rubbish strewn everywhere."

The protests initially began in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms, but have since turned into wider unrest.

Police took a more aggressive approach to the mob after they wreaked havoc on the West Gate Freeway on Tuesday.

With AAP

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