Freedom convoy protesters in Canberra who are camping at the Exhibition Park have been warned to leave by today or their actions could be considered as trespassing. This comes as authorities estimate 10,000 people demonstrated outside Parliament House and Old Parliament House against vaccine mandates over the weekend.
Three people were arrested in relation to the protest, with one charged with multiple offences, and two charged “for breaching the peace”. Protesters were met with heavy police presence yesterday, with witnesses reporting physical altercations between police and protesters. Protest organisers have said they will return to Canberra in a month for further protests.
Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson was also present at the protest, after taking to social media to urge people to attend the event. Hanson told 7news, “we’ve been controlled by the politicians … I’m here as an Australian fighting for my rights and my freedoms.”
A popular book fair which raises funds for mental health organisation Lifeline, scheduled for yesterday, was cancelled as a result of the convoy. The ACT Government confirmed it will donate $25,000 to the organisation.
Today, authorities warned protesters must move on from the area to allow for preparations for the Royal Canberra Show, which will run from February 25 to 27.
A similar convoy is also underway in Paris, despite authorities warning protesters are barred from entering the city. 7,000 police officers, armoured vehicles and water cannon trucks were deployed to the protest. Police were also seen firing tear gas to contain the protest.