Neighbours star Damien Richardson has turned up outside the Melbourne hotel where Novak Djokovic is being detained to throw his support behind the tennis superstar.
Richardson, who played Gary Canning on the hit soap, has been a loud voice in the anti-vaccination movement in Victoria and was in September spotted leading an anti-lockdown protest at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.
The actor was seen with other protesters outside the Serbian’s hotel room on Thursday, who held signs reading: ‘Free Novak’.
Richardson was pictured filming another group of protesters who have used Djokovic’s visa debacle to call for freedom for all refugees.
Former Neighbours star Damien Richardson has thrown his support around Novak Djokovic as he’s held in detention in a Melbourne hotel
The actor was seen outside the hotel on Thursday as many protest the detainment of Djokovic
Richardson was pictured filming another group of protesters who have used Djokovic’s situation to ask for freedom for all refugees
Many Djokovic supporters are calling for the tennis champ to be moved to another accomodation
The federal government on Thursday cancelled Djokovic’s visa to enter the country for the Australian Open as he did not meet visa requirements needed for entry.
The Serbian superstar argued he had a vaccination exemption allowing him to travel to Australia.
But it appears he only had an exemption provided by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to participate in the competition.
Djokovic is now being held at Melbourne’s Park Hotel in Carlton while he awaits a court challenge to his visa cancellation which is scheduled for Monday.
He remains under police guard at the $104-a-night hotel which is used for refugee housing.
Richardson has been a loud voice in Victoria’s anti-vaccination movement
Richardson is seen speaking with Djokovic supporters outside the hotel in Melbourne
Richardson appeared on the hit soap opera Neighbours from 2014 to 2020
The actor made headlines last month when he criticised his famous friends for encouraging people to get vaccinated
The tennis star’s mother Dijana said her son was being treated ‘like a prisoner’ in less than the five-star accommodation the nine-time Australian Open winner is used to.
‘I spoke with him a couple of hours ago, he was good, we didn’t speak a lot but we spoke for a few minutes. He was trying to sleep, but he couldn’t,’ she said.
‘They are keeping him like a prisoner, it’s just not fair, it’s not human.
‘I hope he will stay strong as we are also trying, to give him some energy to keep going. I hope he will win.
‘His accommodation [is] terrible. It’s just some small, immigration hotel, if it is a hotel at all. With bugs, it’s all dirty, the food is terrible.
Richardson is seen smiling as he chats with other supporters outside Djokovic’s hotel
‘They don’t want to give him a chance to move to a better hotel or a rented house.’
Rallies have unfolded calling for Djokovic to be released with protesters demonstrating in front of the National Assembly in Serbia and outside of the Melbourne hotel Richardson appeared outside.
The actor made headlines last month when he criticised his famous friends for encouraging people to get vaccinated.
‘(John) Farnham, where is he? Where are all the celebrities? They are all on TV selling the vaccine. Sellouts. Good chance I won’t be working again in that industry. Well f**k them,’ he told the crowd at an anti-vaccination protest.
In October Richardson also vented his anger while attending a sit-in protest along Acland Street’s dining precinct in St Kilda
Richardson played Gary Canning from 2014 to 2020 on the hit Australian TV soap Neighbours (picture above with ex-girlfriend, Fifi Box)
It came just weeks after he was seen harassing staff at a Melbourne Salvation Army store for denying people access unless they’d been jabbed.
He and other anti-vaxxers had earlier stuck up signs with anti-vaccination slogans such as ‘God does not discriminate’ and ‘Op shops are essential services’, while shouting at workers to let the unvaccinated in.
The Salvation Army had no control over Daniel Andrews’ government’s health restrictions which at the time prevented unvaccinated people from shopping at non-essential stores.
Neighbours star Damien Richardson has blamed Victoria for creating a state of ‘paranoia’ after attending a sit-in anti-vaccination rally last year
In October Richardson also vented his anger while attending a sit-in protest along Acland Street’s dining precinct in St Kilda.
He joined protesters who were demonstrating against ‘vaccine segregation’ after stay-at-home orders were only lifted for fully-vaccinated residents.
‘We’re all becoming paranoid to walk down the street because this is what we’ll be met with,’ he shouted, pointing at a nearby group of police officers.
‘You are creating the circumstances where your children will also be imprisoned in the system that you’re enforcing.’
Richardson took centre stage at the anti-lockdown demonstration at The Shrine of Remembrance in September.
He addressed a crowd of jeering demonstrators and negotiated an exit strategy with Victoria Police on behalf of hundreds of protesters.
The ex-boyfriend of TV and radio presenter Fifi Box, 52, was seen crying out to police that the 400 people who were bizarrely camping out at the sacred site wanted to leave with ‘dignity’.
Protesters have gathered outside the Park Hotel with signs reading: ‘free Novak’
Video showed the well-known actor – who featured on Neighbours from 2014 to 2020 – rambling at police officers about debts.
Richardson said: ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you end up so far in debt that you don’t know what to do, so what have I got to lose? Eventually what have I got to lose?
‘These people will leave, but we want to leave with dignity the way we came, we want to leave down the centre here the way we came.’