Anzac Day protesters fight against lockdown restrictions
Likening themselves to soldiers fighting against Nazis, a small crowd has gathered in West Gippsland on Anzac Day morning to protest against the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.
Protesters were seen crowded together and bumping shoulders during the coronavirus lockdown protest, with no fines issued by police.
Witnesses said more than two dozen people, including local seniors gathered outside the train station in Trafalgar before noon on Anzac Day.
In an image provided to the Sunday Herald Sun, police officers can be seen monitoring the crowd, who were seen bumping shoulders despite COVID-19 social distancing rules.
In a speech given outside the Trafalgar train station, protest spokesman Topher Field said that like the Anzacs fought against Nazis, they are fighting against governments who "took control over their people".
"As we are bullied and threatened, berated and controlled into living lives of fear and withdrawing into our homes, stripped of our incomes and independence we are expected to beg the government for a hand out," he said.
"We are all supposed to behave as if we all have the virus, but never behave as though we had the virus and are therefore immune."
Signs carried by protesters read: 'What did our Anzacs die for?', 'End the lockdown', 'Freedom Keeper', and 'Give us our jobs back'.
In a Facebook live video taken by Mr Field, police are seen asking demonstrators to move the protest away from the station bus terminal, but allow the demonstration to continue for another 40 minutes.
Trafalgar-Thorpdale RSL sub-branch vice president Jim Crowe said the protesters were "making fools of themselves".
He said Anzac Day was not the time to push a "ridiculous" message.
"Any protest on Anzac Day is disrespectful," he said.
"Anzac Day is a national day where we commemorate the memory of the soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. They've chosen that day, probably to get maximum benefit. But I just like to think it's all backfired and it's maximum benefit against them."
Mr Crowe, a Vietnam veteran, said: "If it wasn't for the blood that was spilt by their forebears they wouldn't have the freedom to protest."
The community has taken to the online Trafalgar Community Notice Board to voice their concerns about the negligent behaviour.
"ANZAC DAY is not the day to be protesting against a government action. All should be fined for illegal activities breaking COVID-19 gathering laws," one comment read.
The President of the Trafalgar Chamber of Commerce Scott Draper said the protest held on Anzac Day was not initiated by a local resident.
"This morning I have been made aware of a protest that is happening at the local train station. Something to do with [a] family friendly protest for lockdown laws and Anzac Day," he said.
"I just wanted to note that this was organised by someone from out of Trafalgar and in no way do we endorse or support this action.
"Current restrictions are in force for a reason that is bigger than all of us."
Despite witnesses alleging the protesters were not adhering to social distancing rules, no fines were issued by police.
Police attended the demonstration and dispersed the protesters, no infringements were issued by police.
Protests against coronavirus restrictions have been seen on a larger scale in the United States, with hundreds taking to the streets demanding an end to stay-at-home orders.
Originally published as Anzac Day protesters fight against lockdown restrictions