Continued government lockdowns and restrictions inspire anger
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
“Doing these [protests] does nothing to advance any course. It’s never been successful here or overseas, protesting gets you nowhere.”-Mark Galliot, Commander of the Victoria Police Department
January in the Netherlands saw Business Insider reporting multiple confrontations and riots regarding then implemented curfew measures in the country. Beginning on January 22, the Dutch government implemented a nine pm to four am curfew. In response, groups of youth revolted across the nation; actions taken included torching a vaccine distribution centre in Urk, an Amsterdam protest where 190 people were arrested and an Eindhoven riot where a police car and bicycles were burned while officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks.
A CNN report outlined a single protest in Melbourne, Australia where 235 people were arrested and 2,000 police were deployed with 10 of them suffering injuries. The Commander of the Victoria Police Department Mark Galliot expressed to reporters that he believed protestors arrived not to fight for freedom but to fight with the police. Galliot explained that: “[W]hat we saw were angry, aggressive young males,” and that: “Doing these [protests] does nothing to advance any course. It’s never been successful here or overseas, protesting gets you nowhere.”
However, these protests come on the heels of an announcement that construction workers must be vaccinated to go to worksites and tightening lockdown restrictions. The BBC reports that the announcement indicated some job sites would stay closed for up to two weeks pending staff immunization. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Melbourne police were deployed to check citizens who were out on the street. In the same Reuters report, the officials stated that they will be easing lockdown measures once 70 percent of the adult population has been vaccinated.
Similarly, CTV News reported on increasing unrest as Israel announced changes to its COVID19 Green Pass system. The newest requirements will mean that only those who have received a booster shot will be allowed to enter indoor dining establishments. People with only two doses of the vaccine or those who have recently recovered from COVID will be eligible for six months after their second shot or their recovery.
These tighter measures resulted in open protests blocking roadways and local streets. One protest, covered by The Jerusalem Post, included speakers and protestors who rallied against “tyranny” and called for an increase in transparency. Protesters were incensed by a 30-year embargo preventing the release of a report on coronavirus restrictions as reviewed by the Constitution Committee.
Many of these protesters feared a two-tier system separating the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. This fear motivated some of the protestors to carry signs decrying apartheid presumably directed at the indoor dining guidelines. The backlash was so severe that some even compared the green pass to Auschwitz and the regulations to rape.
As COVID continues into the foreseeable future, protests ranging from civil disobedience to riots will likely continue as well. It remains to be seen which method will most successfully address these citizen actions.