• Unmasked protesters march down George St in Sydney, Australia. Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination activists gathered in cities across Australia at the weekend. (Getty Images AsiaPac)Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
Numerous users have reiterated that Black Lives Matter and Women’s marches were non-violent and organisers for those events enforced strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
NITV Staff Writer

26 Jul 2021 - 3:27 PM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2021 - 2:44 PM

Over the weekend, several capital cities around the country saw thousands defying lockdown restrictions to march against government measures to contain the latest outbreaks of COVID-19. 

The protests turned violent, with marchers accosting police and one man charged with committing an act of animal cruelty after vision surfaced of him making contact with a police horse.

Following the protests, former ABC journalist Emma Alberici was pulled up after she compared them to Black Lives Matter and Women's marches. 

While many expressed anger and frustration at the gatherings, Alberici took to Twitter to draw a parallel between the confrontations and previous marches. 

"Everyone (including police) was attacked at the Black Lives Matter protest and the Women’s March .. why is it more outrageous this time?" she asked. 

"Don’t be left or right. Just be consistent."

The comparison drew swift condemnation, and repudiation, from social media users. 

Ms Alberici then followed her tweet up with a second, saying "attacked doesn't have to be violence - words can wound people too ... think before you troll."

Many users in the replies identified that they had themselves attended both of the marches Ms Alberici referenced, and reiterated there was never any violence seen.

The official account of the Sydney Morning Herald's photographic team even responded. 

"We had several photographers at the Black Lives Matter march and it was a very peaceful protest - apparently it was like being at church - exemplary in making a stoic point without the use of fire eaters and boxing moves." it said.

There are fears that the coming days and weeks will prove the weekend's protests as super-spreading events.

There were similar concerns last year, but given the strict safety measures that organisers of Black Lives Matter protests implemented, that didn't eventuate.

On Sunday, New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller described the organisers as "anarchists" who, unlike Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets in June last year, did not formally register their rally.

"There are no organisers that we can take to the Supreme Court to stop the protests happening which means they're a bunch of anarchists," he said.

Crime Stoppers NSW has received more than 10,000 tips, helping police identify more than 200 people who attended and a strike force is analysing footage from social media, CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify the culprits.

Meanwhile, Victoria's Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius rejected suggestions police acted hypocritically in comparison to the Black Lives Matter marches in 2020.

“Yesterday was very different,” he said.

“Where we can identify these people we will knock on the door, ask them to explain themselves...and if they were there protesting we will issue them with a fine.”

Authorities have warned anyone planning to organise or attend a second anti-lockdown protest that they will be arrested.

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