Mainstream media targeted (about time)
Tue, 21 September 2021, 7:24 am
A second violent clash outside Melbourne’s construction union headquarters has been avoided but hundreds of protesters are now marching towards state parliament.
Just before 11.30am protesters wearing hi-vis gear started moving up Victoria Street and away from the CFMEU offices, following a warning from the riot squad.
They let off a flare and fireworks as they marched up Swanston Street and a news crew was assaulted.
Seven Network reporter Paul Dowsley was grabbed by the throat and a cameraman was thrown to the ground.
“There was a group there who certainly targeted us a few minutes ago, we were standing on a seat trying to get an elevated view as the protest group walked past. A few in the crowd had it in for mainstream media,” Dowsley said in a live cross following the assault.
More than 100 officers were walking up Swanston Street in pursuit of the crowd, which turned down La Trobe Street and appeared to be heading for the front steps of parliament.
Not long before they started marching, police had told them to back down and leave.
“Attention, this is a police public order warning. You have previously been directed to leave,” an officer inside a line of riot police and officers on horseback told the crowd.
“Leave now or force may be used. No further warnings will be given.”
Protesters at the intersection of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets in Melbourne’s CBD near the CFMEU responded with chants of “every day”.
They are opposing a Victorian government mandate requiring all construction workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The group, clad in hi-vis are chanting “f*** the jab”, “f*** off (Premier) Dan Andrews” and other expletives, were blocked from accessing the CFMEU by a line of Victoria Police officers.
On Monday, riot police were called in to disperse a group of about 500 protesters, who threw bottles at Victorian CFMEU construction secretary John Setka and smashed the office’s door down.
Some union members allege Secretary John Setka sold them out for a $20M backhander.