On July 24, 2021, protests took place against COVID restrictions—some violent—in many European and Australian cities as part of the Worldwide Rally for Freedom.
Demonstrators lamented the loss of livelihood, interminable lockdowns and restrictions, compulsory face-masking, and egregious violations of civil rights.
One of the rallies took place in Paris, where participants marched against a proposed law—that if the French Parliament adopted—would require people to hold either a COVID vaccination passport or negative test results when visiting restaurants and shopping centres.
Demonstrators said the laws were a draconian attempt at institutionalising discrimination against unvaccinated people.
In Australia, as was expected, politicians, police, health bureaucrats, and commentators condemned concurrent protests, which were characterised as breaches of lockdown directives and restrictions. In New South Wales, these critics included Premier Gladys Berejklian, Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant, and Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who labelled the demonstrators “anarchists.”
The demonstrations were in response to the perceived breakdown of Australia’s democratic institutions, the evisceration of civil rights, the endless lockdowns and border restrictions, loss of livelihoods, harassment of the unvaccinated, compulsory face-masking, mandatory use of tracing apps, invasions of privacy, illegal use of data by police, to name a few.
Rather than being the handiwork of “anarchists,” the protests may instead be a visible expression of disempowerment and a desperate attempt to retain the erstwhile freedoms enjoyed by Australians.