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Top doctor fires a brutal shot at Daniel Andrews despite Covid cases dropping

One of Australia’s top doctors has warned the Victorian government needs to ‘take a long hard look’ as its ‘heavy-handed’ response to the Covid pandemic as protests again rocked the city on Sunday. 

Dr Nick Coatsworth, the country’s former deputy chief medical officer and face of the government’s vaccine rollout campaign, said people have a right to protest in a democracy but that he was ‘troubled’ by the rallies. 

‘People have a right to that (protest) but Victoria in many ways has become a divided state and some of that is due to the more heavy-handed approaches of government and people are pushing back against that,’ Dr Coatsworth told Today on Monday.

One of Australia’s top doctors said the Victorian government needs to ‘take a long hard look’ at their Covid lockdown response after protests continue in Melbourne (pictured: Dan Andrews on Sunday)

Dr Coatsworth said the same frequency and scale of protests being held in Melbourne – which holds the unenviable record of the world’s longest lockdown – wasn’t being seen in other capital cities. 

‘You don’t see it anywhere else in Australia, and you have to ask why,’  Dr Coatsworth said.

‘I mean, we are all Australians. Why are Victorians taking the position that they feel the need to protest and I think the government needs to have a long hard look at itself as to why that might be.’

Melbourne has seen anti-lockdown protests of varying sizes almost weekly in recent months – with thousands turning out on Sunday in the CBD to protest proposed new pandemic response laws. 

The previous weekend saw a similar turnout in the CBD while on Melbourne Cup day hundreds gathered near the entrance to Flemington racecourse chanting slogans and waving placards. 

The controversial Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 at the centre of Sunday’s protest has already passed the Lower House.

Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth (pictured) said the Victorian government was "heavy handed" in their Covid response

Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth (pictured) said the Victorian government was ‘heavy handed’ in their Covid response

In October, the protests were centred around Dan Andrews’ sweeping vaccine mandates. 

All authorised workers were required to get a Covid jab by October 15 with police, teachers and professional athletes needing their second dose by November 26.

Other workers required to get jabbed to stay in a job include cleaners, farmers, retail workers, personal trainers, spa workers.

In September a series of protests were held after an announcement that construction workers were required to be vaccinated to keep their jobs.

The clashes were perhaps the most violent seen with protesters hurling projectiles, scores of arrests and lines of police in riot gear deploying pepper-spray. 

Other cities have also endured anti-lockdown protests but not approaching the same level seen in Melbourne. 

Even at the height of Sydney’s Delta outbreak, protests were infrequent. 

Sydney’s largest rally in July saw more than 3,000 protesters march through the NSW capital – but more protests hyped for the following weeks did not eventuate.

On Sunday, thousands protested (pictured) in Victoria with many holding signs voicing opposition to Dan Andrews pandemic response laws

On Sunday, thousands protested (pictured) in Victoria with many holding signs voicing opposition to Dan Andrews pandemic response laws 

The ‘selfish’ protests may have even helped kick-start the state’s stellar vaccine rollout which took off the following month.   

Protests have been almost a non-event in Sydney since with the exception of rallies around construction bans in July and August which evaporated after the Berejiklian government quickly relented and allowed construction to continue.   

Dr Coatsworth added that an outbreak linked to the Melbourne Cup has already doubled in less than a week, which shows Covid is still around and can ‘move quickly’. 

Victoria recorded 860 Covid cases on Monday.

He also praised Victorians rolling up their sleeve for the vaccine effort, saying that was crucial to stopping the spread. 

‘The cases as you have just mentioned have dropped under 1,000 and that’s because Victorians got themselves vaccinated.’

‘Don’t forget the power of vaccinations in decreasing transmission. If you have got a vaccinated person and another vaccinated person, the possibility of transmitting the virus is so much less.’

As of Sunday Victoria is 87 per cent fully vaccinated. 

Saturday and Sunday’s protests were perhaps the biggest Victoria has seen in months, illustrating tensions are not subsiding along with Covid case numbers.

So-called ‘freedom’ protesters stormed the Melbourne CBD to demonstrate against mandatory vaccinations and Daniel Andrews’ proposed Covid laws.

Among the crowd of angry demonstrators was a large makeshift gallows hanging three nooses on a long pole – possibly a reference to their ‘kill the bill’ chants.

The image caused a stir on social media with one commentator saying they felt ‘genuinely scared’ of those carrying the outrageous prop.

Among the crowds of angry 'pro choice' demonstrators was a large makeshift gallows that hung three nooses made from rope on a long pole.

Among the crowds of angry ‘pro choice’ demonstrators was a large makeshift gallows that hung three nooses made from rope on a long pole.

‘This was taken today at the Melbourne protest,’ they wrote alongside the photo. 

‘I’m now genuinely scared of what these people are going to do. This is not ok.’

Another user posted photos of a protester’s sign that read ‘Unvaxxed sperm is the next bitcoin’ and another of a smiling couple posing in front of the noose. 

‘For context, this in Melbourne yesterday where local RWNJ (right wing nut job) gatecrashed Trumps runaway win at the inaugural noose tying state champs,’ he captioned the images.  

The terrifying image has since caused a stir on social media with one commentator saying they felt 'genuinely scared' of those carrying the despicable prop

The terrifying image has since caused a stir on social media with one commentator saying they felt ‘genuinely scared’ of those carrying the despicable prop

Journalist Bianca Hall said: ‘We ran into the people carrying the mock gallows while walking our kids back to the car during a trip into the city buying them new shoes.

‘I can’t tell you how filled with rage I was. ‘Mummy? What’s that?”

‘Trump flags and three noose effigy is shocking to the senses. A 20 minute train ride to Melbourne in a carriage full of them, unmasked, angry, intimidating. Left me shocked,’ a second user responded. 

‘This is totally unacceptable, having hangman noose’s paraded through the streets of Melbourne is beyond disgusting, Victoria Police need to find & jail these inhumane RW marches ASAP,’ another agreed.  

A photo of a male attendee proudly holding a tiny handmade noose was also criticised on social media and accused of preceding domestic terrorism. 

One protestor held a sign that read 'Unvaxxed sperm is the next bitcoin' (pictured)

One protestor held a sign that read ‘Unvaxxed sperm is the next bitcoin’ (pictured)

A photo of a male attendee proudly holding a tiny handmade noose was also criticised on social media and accused of preceding domestic terrorism (pictured)

A photo of a male attendee proudly holding a tiny handmade noose was also criticised on social media and accused of preceding domestic terrorism (pictured)

‘Whether or not this particular person thinks he’s just being funny, this is the precursor to domestic terrorism (not necessarily by him); we can choose to take it seriously or not. America did not,’ one user wrote. 

‘You let this kind of thing slide as ‘freedom of expression’, and much worse things happen down the track,’ another agreed.

However, some social media users shockingly praised the demonstrators’ antics and appeared unperturbed by the presence of the makeshift noose. 

‘How good is that, Dan can’t even walk the streets, now he has to have security full time,’ one woman wrote on Facebook. 

‘Not surprised at all really. Victoria’s mental health has been pushed to the limits by Andrews,’ another commented. 

‘It will continue and probably get worse until the government listens,’ a third added. 

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian slammed the deplorable prop on Twitter (pictured) and said if people weren't appalled by the image they were 'part of the problem'

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian slammed the deplorable prop on Twitter (pictured) and said if people weren’t appalled by the image they were ‘part of the problem’

Thousands of 'Pro-choice' and anti-vax protesters marched through showers to register their opposition to  mandatory vaccination and a proposed expansion of the premier's powers

Thousands of ‘Pro-choice’ and anti-vax protesters marched through showers to register their opposition to  mandatory vaccination and a proposed expansion of the premier’s powers 

Thousands of protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against mandatory vaccinations and new laws set to be introduced by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews

Thousands of protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against mandatory vaccinations and new laws set to be introduced by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews

Rogue MP Craig Kelly attended and claimed 20,000 were at the Melbourne march. On Friday he posted 'end the tyranny' referring to proposed Victorian laws

Rogue MP Craig Kelly attended and claimed 20,000 were at the Melbourne march. On Friday he posted ‘end the tyranny’ referring to proposed Victorian laws

Controversial anti-vax MP Craig Kelly, of the United Australia Party, travelled from Sydney to attend.

In a speech to the crowd he said the public was ‘in the face of tyranny and corruption’.

‘I have decided to take a stand like many of you have here today – I hear you,’ he told the crowd.

‘We are no longer governed for the people or by the people.

‘I stand with all those who stand for freedom.’

Earlier Kelly encouraged people to attend via Twitter, posting ‘We must stop this tyranny’.

Kelly regularly tweeted during the march, claiming up to 20,000 people were present. 

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