Crowds of anti-vaccine protesters chant 'save Australia' during rally in New York

Some Australians have reacted with bemusement to an anti-vaccination protest in New York where US demonstrators vowed to “save” Australia from COVID-19 lockdowns.

New Yorkers against a vaccine mandate wave Australian flags at a protest on Monday (local time).

New Yorkers against a vaccine mandate wave Australian flags at a protest on Monday (local time). Source: EPA

Hundreds of Americans opposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers have rallied outside the Australian consulate in New York City, chanting “Save Australia!” in an attempt to highlight lockdown restrictions in parts of the country.

Waving cardboard cutouts of Australian flags, calling for “freedom” and chanting “we will not comply”, the protesters marched across the city's streets, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge before stopping at the Australian consulate in Manhattan for speeches.

Protesters also held banners that read “What is happening in Melbourne?”.

“People around the world are not allowed to go to restaurants. I watched my Australian friend live on Instagram,” said one man, who said he recently lost his job as a health worker.

“What’s going on in Australia is not just going to be Australia. And when it shows up on our doorsteps, we’re gonna punch it right in the f***ing teeth.”

Others shouted they were "supporting" Australia.

“Australia, we're holding the line for you, fight, fight, fight, tyranny!" shouted a woman waving an Australian flag.

The demonstrators had gathered to protest against a vaccine mandate for teachers and other school staff members set by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, which required them as of Monday to have been inoculated or be placed on unpaid leave.

Anti-vaccine protesters in New York chant 'save Australia'

Some Australians reacted with bemusement at the protesters.

"She’ll be right mate, thanks anyway," said an Australian on Twitter.

Lockdown restrictions in parts of Australia have become fodder for commentary among conservative media outlets in the US, with Fox News host Tucker Carlson last week highlighting the violent protests in Melbourne last month as "peaceful".

"[Is] the government cracking down on Islamic extremists, dangerous revolutionaries in their midst? No," he said in a monologue.

"Just ordinary Australians complaining, demonstrating peacefully against the lockdowns, beaten by police."

Published 5 October 2021 at 5:32pm, updated 5 October 2021 at 6:00pm
By Rashida Yosufzai
Source: SBS News