Victorian Police are calling upon the Victorian Government to help take the heat off the streets of Melbourne for days of protests. Now calling for ‘legal’ protests where social distancing and order can be in place to keep the people safe whilst having the freedom to protest.
After many clashes between the Victorian police and protestors, as the world watched in shock of the violence breaking out in the streets, senior officers are now wanting to draw away from violence and wanting a system of registration for people to hold organised protests to enable Covid safe procedures to be put in place.
Violent confrontations and over 1000 arrests have taken place in Melbourne over the past sixth months, as desperate every day people marched the streets chanting for their freedoms to end the longest lockdowns in the world. As witnessed by some of our free journalists, at most protests they were met with heavily armed police officers and eventually violence broke out once protestors were kettled (trapped in a corner) with no way out.
Disturbing footage from live streamers such as Joel Gilmour, has shown people being shot at with rubber bullets, whilst taking refuge at the Shrine, has caused a great deal of concern about the levels of violence that is being taken out on the unarmed people of Melbourne for wanting freedom of speech. Some Victorian police are now stepping down from their positions, some saying they no longer feel proud to be a police officer, and some standing up to the mandated vaccines.
Police resources are being stretched with up 2000 people being used for each event at times. Some days playing cat and mouse trying to catch the protestors as they strategically move through the back streets to gather in numbers. Police are getting tired, not only of the long days of heavy policing, not only of the cat and mouse games protestors have had to resort to, but also the heavy mental strength needed to be stepping into roles they most likely never saw themselves doing.
Extreme measures used against unarmed protesters, of police pepper spraying people at close range straight into the eyes as they lay on the ground, police shooting rubber bullets at people who were already leaving an area and many live stream videos of police brutally attacking people on the street when they were not aware of the attack approaching them, have severely damaged the relationship between the everyday person wanting their freedoms back and the police force.
Many protestors believe the role of police at a protest needs to be traffic controlling, making sure no one gets hurt and leave unharmed. This has not been the case in Melbourne for many months now. Many have left covered in burns and shot by rubber bullets and many police officers have also been hurt as the crowds push through their barricades to get away from the pepper spray being sprayed upon them. It is a very troubling time and it is understandable that Vic Police have now come to a place of wanting the Chief Health Officer to allow protests without the heavy handed control approach as the way things are happening right now, is causing a great deal of disrespect not only on protestors but also the very people most would like to think they can turn to for protection – The Vic Police.
Internal investigations are now taking place on the aggressive approach taken on the protestors. The community is in shock of what has unfolded and want answers. The freedom to speak up for human rights does not need to be met with violence and ridicule. It can be met with humility and protection.
The relationship between Vic Police and the community is greatly damaged, this may be a way of recovering some of that trust back again. To have them walking side by side supporting freedom of speech in a democratic country.