On Saturday, thousands of protesters gathered outside the state of Victoria’s parliament in response to the government’s proposed pandemic bill that would expand State Premier Dan Andrews’ powers to an unprecedented degree and also issue vaccine mandates.
Australia has had some of the furthest-reaching pandemic response with extreme lockdowns, forced quarantine camps, and vaccination requirements, which has been met with ongoing protests that often result in clashes with law enforcement officers trying to resist the surging crowds.
The Epoch Times reports that protesters gathered on Saturday to chant and hold signs like “Save our children” and “kill the bill.”
A speaker told the crowd that the bill, which would give unprecedented pandemic-related power to extend any declared emergency to Andrews, was “unlawful.”
This job currently rests with the state’s chief health officer and emergency declarations last for three months but under the new bill, would give the premier this power. The first was declared in March of 2020 and has been repeatedly extended every three months ever since.
The current pandemic emergency declaration in Victoria expires in December.
The new bill, The Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management Bill 2021), has passed the lower house and will require three of the upper house’s 11 cross-benchers, or minority party swing voters, to pass.
Victoria protesters plan to hold a similar demonstration next weekend.
In September, the state saw weeks of often chaotic violence, with police firing non-lethal rounds at protesters.
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