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Rubber bullets were fired at an angry crowd protesting against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for the construction industry and other health restrictions.
Hundreds of protesters, many wearing high visibility gear, started their second day of protests outside CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne before going to Parliament, after warnings from the riot squad.
They have since returned to the CFMEU offices, the large crowd going back to Queen Victoria Market.
Police riot squad officers, supported by the mounted branch, warned the group to stay behind and fired rubber bullets into the crowd, while empty bottles and cans were thrown onto the street. police.
The crowd then walked towards the police line with their hands raised chanting â€œyou are helping usâ€.
Protesters marched to parliament just before noon before heading to Flinders Street Station.
Empty rum and cola cans littered the road in front of Parliament after the crowds had dispersed.
Flares and fireworks were fired as they went up Swanston Street and a press team was assaulted.
Shortly before they started walking near the CFMEU office in the morning, the police told them to back up and leave.
â€œBe careful, this is a public order warning from the police. You’ve already been ordered to leave, â€an officer from a line of riot police and mounted officers told the crowd.
â€œGo now or the force can be used. No further warning will be given. “
The rally opposes a Victorian government mandate requiring all construction workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The group chanted “Fuck the jab” and “Fuck off (first) Dan Andrews”, but were prevented from entering the CFMEU offices by a row of police officers.
On Monday, riot police were called in to disperse a group of around 500 protesters, who threw bottles at Victorian CFMEU Construction Secretary John Setka and smashed the office door.
Setka said not all of the protesters were CFMEU members and accused “neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists” of hijacking the event.
â€œThere was a small minority of construction workers, some of them when it all got violent, moved away. He was hijacked by professional protesters, â€Setka told ABC.
He said the CFMEU was â€œpro-vaxâ€ but had always supported freedom of choice.
Setka urged the Victorian government to tackle misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.
Federal Deputy for Maribyrnong and former union leader and Bill Shorten said he believed a group of professional troublemakers were to blame for Monday’s “shocking violence”.
“I never thought I would see a scene where you have people calling themselves Nazis using encrypted messaging systems to attract a crowd,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.
On Monday evening, the state government announced that the industry would be closed from Tuesday for two weeks at Melbourne Metropolis, Ballarat City, Greater Geelong City, Surf Coast County and Mitchell County.
All sites will have to demonstrate compliance with sanitary instructions before reopening.
This includes the obligation for workers to prove that they have received at least one dose of a vaccine before returning to work on October 5.