23 March 2022

Convoy to Canberra protester and former Eurobodalla mayor warns: 'this is not going away'

| Max O'Driscoll
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Protesters with AuUstralian flags next to a bus

Protesters clash with a bus driver near the Civic Bus Interchange. Photo: Screenshot.

Convoy to Canberra protester and former mayor of Eurobodalla Shire Liz Innes has warned that the protests are “not going away” as protesting activity starts to pick up across the ACT.

Her revelation comes as police investigate a confrontation between a bus and a number of Convoy to Canberra protesters at around midday on Tuesday (22 March).

Ms Innes said that this weekend’s protest ahead of the Federal Budget on Tuesday night (29 March) is an event she “wouldn’t miss … for the world”.

Former Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes: “It’s making sure that people notice us and that our voices are heard.” Photo: Supplied

“It’s about that presence and continuing that presence. This is not going to go away. This is the start of the people’s revolution and I don’t necessarily know that the budget has a huge amount to do with it,” she said.

“There are specific things that these protestors are calling for and it’s a matter of it continuing, and it’s going to continue.

“It’s making sure that people notice us and that our voices are heard.”

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Ms Innes said she was inspired by the movement after losing faith in government and wanting to return power to the people.

“At the start of all of this, like everybody, I had faith in the powers that be, that they would be doing the right thing by Australians in dealing with this pandemic,” she said.

“When it became that if you weren’t going to take the vaccination, then you wouldn’t have a job, that for me, was the final straw, and it was for so many other people.”

At approximately 11:45 am yesterday, ACT Policing attended an incident on Northbourne Avenue in the city between protesters and a bus driver.

In a video circulating online, the protestors with flags, signs and a megaphone are seen standing in front of a bus preventing the driver from moving forward. Calls of “take his license plate” can be heard in the audio.

Addressing the confrontation with the bus driver, Ms Innes said that misbehaviour was consistent with any other large gathering.

“If you look at how many people have been in Canberra for all of that time, and if there’s one or two small incidents because we’re human beings, after all, I think by and large if you speak to police officers that have been there, they’ve been overly impressed by the behaviour of the protesters,” she said.

“Our mantra is, ‘we are peaceful, we are powerful and we are polite’, and we keep reminding people that we’re there for a reason.”

Police are investigating the incident.

A Transport Canberra spokesperson said that they were also conducting their own review of the incident in which the bus made contact with a protester.

The bus driver had been offered “appropriate support”.

“The safety of our drivers and passengers is Transport Canberra’s highest priority. Every bus driver can make contact with the operations centre designed to support them via their radio. There is also a duress button onboard for drivers’ use. There are also transport officers on duty at major interchanges and out on the roads to quickly support drivers and passengers,” the spokesperson said.

The incident was part of a “small, mobile group of protesters” moving around the city yesterday managed by ACT Policing, which peaked with a small number of vehicles needing to be moved on by police from the grassed area in front of Parliament House.

“The group of about 100 people drove in convoy and gathered in Glebe Park at about 11.30 am and then marched and drove down Northbourne Avenue to Parliament House,” the police spokesperson said.

“Police used both active and passive measures to divert protestors’ vehicles from certain roads as the group moved towards Parliament.

“ACT Policing again thanks Canberrans for their patience and reminds the community that protest activity may occur in the coming week. Short term traffic disruptions in the city and Parliamentary Triangle may occur with little to no notice.”

READ ALSO ACT economy showing signs of life ahead of the federal budget

Further protesting activity is expected over the next week in the lead-up to the release of the Federal Budget on Tuesday (29 March).

A flyer circulating online indicates that the ‘Pinnacle Protest Rally’ will begin at Glebe or Commonwealth Park at 9:00 am on Saturday (26 March) as the group of protesters march towards the Parliament lawns. Nine of the ACT’s 10 public campgrounds are already booked out over the weekend.

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Isabella Condon1:43 pm 25 Mar 22

I work out at the TGA and we had protestors at our gate literally once a week. I understand they have a beef with our government and its not fair on the people who work onsite by the barrage of abuse and profanity that they yell at us. Everyone has there own opinion but you can’t just assume that although we work here that we agree with everything the government says… just saying

They just keep shooting themselves in the foot by going off like loose guns. Hoping for a cold winter/some good frosts to sort them out.

As a resident of the Eurobodalla I apologise to the residents of Canberra for Liz Innes. She was an embarrassment as mayor and was kicked out as such at the recent council election.

Can we please stop referring to them as protestors and start calling them what they really are which is members of a Cult?

Who do you protestors actually got a beef with?
If your beef is with the Federal Government, go to Parliament House and protest there. If your beef is with your State Government, protest there.
Calling yourself a protestor doesn’t give you the right to interfere with and hinder ordinary people going about their lives. Imagine if you were that bus driver having to deal with this rubbish.
Disgraceful.

omg please go away
what are you even going to accomplish
we understand you are upset, please now leave

Maybe Innes can let the protesters congregate in her backyard and protest there.

Everyday – even on the weekend – more people get vaccinated than this group can muster. These protesters do not represent any significant percentage of the population. I just wish they would realise that we are all doing it tough and their behaviour does not make it any easier.

For the “small, mobile group of protesters” read ‘serial pests’ who cannot protest peacefully I suggest the ACT police desist from moving them on and instead fill the local police cells with them. Then the peaceful protesters can go about their business without this stain on their credentials.

Hah, crackdown like the Chinese or Russian authorities would. That’d set a wonderful precedent wouldn’t it. They might be buffoons but that doesn’t mean they need to be put in the slammer

Dear Ms Innes I want to live in town were I have the right to exist free from disease. By not being vaccinated you deny me my right of disease free movement.
Take your unvaccinated self back to the coast and stop seeking to infect me and my fully vaccinated family.

BTW a bus driver has the right to do their job unencumbered by violence and uninvited unvaccinated persons. They also have a right and duty to protect their passengers.

You may also care to notice Ms Innes how small your minority group is.

Perhaps the convoy organisers could check that they target their protests when there is actually politicians in town to listen. Otherwise they are nothing but annoying rabble interrupting hard working citizens going about their business.
To make it clear ‘Canberra’ equals residents and ‘Government’ is the politicians who are occasional visitors. Protest by all means but please get the target right. BTW parliament isn’t currently sitting and most of your issues are in the domain of state governments.

Liz Innes must have been to some weird goings-on if she thinks what the hostile demonstrators have been doing is “consistent with any other large gathering.” Just because there are people who ignore medical science and wish to contract a possibly fatal disease does not entitle them to pass it on to others. They have shown a rudeness and roughness in spreading a disease that risks long-COVID, permanent damage to the brain and other vital organs, and premature death – including to Canberra children. Shame on you!

“Our mantra is, ‘we are peaceful, we are powerful and we are polite’,

Everyone going about their normal lives is arguably complicit in spreading COVID. Surely we’re at a point where shutting anti vaxers out of everyday activities is going to make negligible difference to COVID cases and impacts on the health system.

swaggieswaggie12:26 pm 23 Mar 22

Dear Miss Innes, you have been noticed and your voices have been heard – now hear my voice “Clear off, we don’t want you in our Town”

Hi, Canberra resident here, they can stay and cause as much havoc as they like, restore our personal freedoms, 100% supported by me, our forefathers didn’t sweat, freeze, bleed and die in order to have our freedoms and liberties taken away.
‘I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery’ Thomas Jefferson

‘I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery’
And peaceful freedom beats the crap out of either. Haven’t noticed much slavery going on around here recently, nor do I recall my forefathers fighting specifically for the right of people to be a bit silly although I suppose that was unavoidable really.

hsan, I wish you anti-vaxxers would stop getting your quotes from the US right. Our forefathers, sounds like something from the USA too!

Well, my ancestors got vaccinated, as did I imagine most Australian ancestors of people in this country. Long queues for the polio vaccine for instance. What you are describing is straight from the anti-vaxxer right of the USA, and un-Australian.

Seeing that picture above, where the anti-vaxxers don’t care two hoots about other’s freedom, self-centred selfish people, as they are. Anti-vaxxers aren’t being Australian by flying the red ensign (upside down). It’s red, the colour (oops color) of the US Republican Party and the far right in the USA. That’s why it’s being flown, so as to feel in ‘brotherhood’ with the anti-vaxxers in the USA. It’s the colour that attracts. Seen the little Trump hats worn too. Slaveously, mind-boggling, dumbly following the US anti-vaxxers. The internet has a lot to answer for.

The anti-vaxxers don’t believe in freedom and democracy. No they just want to impose their VERY small minority views on everyone else. Keep your ignorant anti-science views to yourself and go home.

swaggieswaggie5:24 pm 23 Mar 22

Dear Hsan, sorry but living for a few weeks on a local camping ground does NOT qualify you as a Canberra Resident.

Do you mind I bring some of my mates around to your place? We’d like to protest and disturb your peace and quiet.

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