A man wearing medals addressed Melbourne’s riot asking them to ‘respect’ Victoria’s proudest war memorial – before the violent thugs trashed and defiled the area.
The man, wearing a suit with what appears to be war medals pinned to his breast, asked for a microphone to address the group on Wednesday afternoon as they gathered outside the Shrine of Remembrance.
The sacred building, which honours Australian men and women who have served in the defence force, was the site of the latest demonstration, with the man pleading with people to ‘respect the shrine’ and ‘stand down’.
‘I’m here by myself, the only thing I’m asking is can you respect the shrine. Can you stand down from there please,’ he said.
‘Everyones entitled to their own peace and do what they do. All I’m asking is you respect the soldiers. Can you please just respect the soldiers and the fallen.’
A man wearing war medals has addressed Melbourne’s riot asking them to ‘respect’ a memorial – before the violent thugs trashed and defiled the area
The man, wearing a suit with what appears to be war medals pinned to his breast, asked for a microphone to address the group as they gathered outside the Shrine of Remembrance
The sacred building, which honours Australian men and women who have served in the defence force, was the site of the latest demonstration, with a man pleading with people to ‘respect the shrine’ and ‘stand down’
Police fired rubber bullets at the protesters who set up camp atop Melbourne’s war memorial in the hopes police wouldn’t fire on them out of respect for fallen Anzacs
Protesters waved flags as they marched on the war memorial which was set up to honour fallen soldiers in First World War
The thugs then proceeded to hurl trash and defile the memorial building, leaving former soldiers devastated and drawing an angry statement from the Returned Services League (RSL).
‘Frankly I’m speechless and appalled. I cannot comprehend the selfishness who have come to this sacred place and do this,’ Shrine of Remembrance chief executive Dean Lee said.
‘It’s outrageous, it’s rephrensible and it’s the most disgusting I’ve ever witnessed at the Shrine of Remebrance.’
Police fired rubber bullets at the anti-vaccination protesters who set up camp atop Melbourne’s war memorial in the hopes police wouldn’t fire on them out of respect for fallen Anzacs.
The protesters, who have been rallying for three days to demand an end to mandatory vaccinations for construction workers, swarmed Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance on Wednesday.
The mob chanted ‘lest we forget’ as they marched on the sacred monument, decked out in body armour and helmets in anticipation of a police attack while others sang chants urging officers not to arrest them out of ‘respect for the Anzacs’.
Eventually, the patients of riot squad police wore thin when demonstrators started throwing rocks.
Police arrested more than 200 people at Wednesday’s protest. Tap handles, golf balls and batteries were thrown at police, according to Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther.
Two police sustained head injuries after being pelted with bottles.
The man wearing medals attempted to reason with the group of violent thugs before they desecrated the Victorian war memorial on Wednesday
Protesters sit at the Shrine of Remembrance as they rally against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations and a two week shutdown of the construction industry
The RSL released a statement on Wednesday evening condemning their behaviour for shamefully using the Shrine as a tool for protest
Riot police prepare to engage with protesters and clear them off the Shrine of Remembrance
Protesters set up camp at Melbourne’s war memorial in the hope police wouldn’t fire on them out of respect for fallen Anzacs
Officers responded by blasting the hi-vis wearing demonstrators with a flurry rubber bullets – sending the protesters scattering away from the wild scene.
Police also fired pepper balls and stinger grenades to disperse the crowd.
The RSL released a statement on Wednesday evening condemning their behaviour for shamefully using the Shrine as a tool for protest.
‘It is RSL Victoria’s position that Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance is a sacred place, of critical importance to the current and ex-service members of our community, for commemorating service and for the remembrance of those who have died performing their patriotic duty,’ they said.
‘Under no circumstances, ever, should the Shrine be a place of protest.
‘If any individuals or groups choose to express their political views, positions or ideological theories in the grounds of the Shrine at any time, they are completely disrespecting the sanctity of this time honoured space, those men and women of the Australian Defence Froce who have lost their lives, and all Victorian veterans. ‘
The chair of the Shrine of Remembrance Captain Stephen Bowater said the protest was ‘disgraceful and disrespectful to the honoured memory of Australian service men and women’.
Riot Police watch on as protesters gather at the Shrine of Remembrance as they rally against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations
The demonstrators, many wearing high-vis clothing, chanted and waved placards as police officers surrounded them
The scene turned exceedingly ugly as police and the violent thugs clashed outside the Shrine of Remembrance on Wednesday
Dozens of officers completely surrounded the protesters and prepared for a gas attack to flush them out while the demonstrators shouted ‘join us’ at the police and also sang the national anthem.
But two hours into the stand-off police had still not fired gas and were telling protesters to leave to avoid being arrested.
By about 4pm many protesters left along St Kilda Road after police parted to create a small exit route for them – but hundreds of diehards remained, chanting ‘stand your ground’. Among them were two parents accompanied by four small children.
Footage taken from the chaotic scene shows a sea of officers in tactical gear grabbing protesters one by one, dragging them away from the steps of the war memorial.
Some of the protesting tradies are seen hurling rocks and other projectiles as the police move in, prompting officers to start firing non-lethal rubber bullets.
Shocked demonstrators can be heard calling the police ‘dogs’ while others screamed ‘oh my god!’
The remaining holdouts were eventually forced to flee and the shrine is now completely empty as the groups scattered into surrounding streets.