17 February 2022

'Tough shit': Freedom protester responds to Canberra's reaction

| James Coleman
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Several protesters from the ‘Freedom Convoy to Canberra’ have set up camp at the Cotter. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Canberrans may have given ‘freedom’ protesters the cold shoulder, but their fighting spirit is far from quelled.

While ‘Freedom Convoy to Canberra’ numbers have dwindled since an estimated 10,000 turned out for last Saturday’s protest, those camping at the Cotter Campground say it’s just a lull in the storm.

Locals haven’t exactly welcomed the protesters since they first arrived on 31 January, especially after reports began surfacing that staff in local businesses were facing abuse for asking protesters to wear masks or check in. Protesters retaliated by leaving one-star Google reviews.

READ ALSO Four protestors arrested for illegally camping at Cotter

Samson is from Melbourne and arrived at sunrise last Saturday (12 February). He is unperturbed by the local reaction.

“I don’t care. Too bad. Tough shit,” he said. “The country is going down the toilet, even if they’re not aware of it.

“What’s happening here is not an isolated thing. People are waking up all over the world.”

Rob Scott, a retired bricklayer from Brisbane, has been with the Convoy from the beginning and is a little less forthright.

“If I go into a shop and they ask me to put a mask on, I just leave. I go to another shop.”

Rob said he had never heard protesters abuse workers and Canberra’s shops were receiving a handsome boost in revenue.

Rob Scott

Rob Scott, retired bricklayer from Brisbane. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Plans have surfaced for another march on Saturday, beginning at 10 am at Turner Parkland and culminating with a rally at Parliament House. The next major event will be when Parliament returns next month for the Budget. Rob and Samson plan to take part in both.

Samson is part of a group called ‘The Peacemakers’, an American pacifist organisation that takes its name from a section of the Bible, ‘The Beatitudes’, which reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”.

“Whatever way you slice it, you treat people like people,” he said. “Abusing people because they’re wearing a mask is like abusing people because of their race.”

The camping life. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

He said COVID-19 was “never about the mandates and vaccines”, but protests happening in Australia, Canada, England, and now New Zealand, have thrown a spanner in the rollout of the ‘New World Order’.

“This is about the enslavement and population reduction of the human race … overseen by Freemason psychopaths.”

He said the design of the Parliamentary Triangle mirrors the “All-seeing eye of God” in the Freemason’s symbol.

“But don’t believe a word I say. Don’t believe a word anyone says. Do your own research because you’re the one who has to live with it.”

Samson has participated in ‘freedom’ protests in Melbourne over the last two years. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Rob is here for those who have lost their jobs because they didn’t want the jab. The final straw was when they started “going on about vaccinating the kids”.

Rob said the Convoy was made up of plenty of others in his shoes – “ordinary people” with legitimate concerns about mandates and the role of government in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this explained the weekend fluctuations in numbers, as those with jobs returned home for the working week.

READ ALSO Ten thousand ‘freedom’ protesters swarm Parliament House lawns: Photos/video

“Of course, there is a couple of hippie types with different agendas – ‘Legalise some drugs’ or some shit. It’s funny that they’re against the vaccine, but they’ll take drugs.”

Rob said the guy who originally got the wheels rolling on the Convoy was from Western Australia and made the trip in a large white truck emblazoned with ‘Convoy to Canberra’ messaging. Since then, however, former Qantas pilot Graham Hood has assumed leadership.


Cotter campground. Freedom Convoy. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

“He’s the one with a head on his shoulders. He’s not mad like some of them are, yelling ‘kill them all’ and ‘sack them all’ and all that shit. He just wants to get the message over calmly.”

Since the Convoy was moved on from Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) on Tuesday, the faithful few have flooded campgrounds throughout the ACT and beyond. The Cotter was the favoured location until police moved in to clear those who hadn’t paid the booking fee.

The messaging is mixed but all comes down to the same theme. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Rob said some of these had spilled over to the nearby Caloola Farm at Booth, “where a retired barrister agreed to host the camp on his land”.

Caloola Farm has since published a statement saying it would “allow vulnerable people affected by recent events … to temporarily stay at Caloola Farm free of charge whilst they make preparations to return home”.

Rob plans to head home next week but vows to be back in March.

“This Saturday’s [protest] won’t be as big, but there are people who have gone home to get more people and are coming back again,” he said.

Protester at the Cotter Campground

Police patrol the campground several times a day. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Meanwhile, Samson said he would most likely head back to Victoria after Saturday’s protest. Plenty of others, though, are in it for the long haul.

“People have lost everything; they’re not going anywhere,” he said.

“People are coming for their own different reasons, but the common thread is, ‘We’ve had enough, we want our lives back, we want our freedoms back – it was not yours to take in the first place’.”

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Have had a conversation or too in the past (usually over a few beers) with perfectly sane people who become a little frantic and delusional. No amount of rational discussion or logic will change their thoughts on specific matters, Illuminati, aliens, condensation trails being chemtrails in the sky spreading mind control drugs, governments experimenting on its citizens (although this has a basis in fact…testing chemical weapons on its own soldiers i.e. mustard gas, radiation blasts etc). All interesting fodder for TV shows and movies. Do I believe that government is honest with its citizens? No. Do I think there is a global conspiracy? Only on the part of multinational corporations maximising profits, as governments are not smart enough (we keep electing cunning idiots) to do anything the conspiracy people are pointing out. I hope Samson is happy in his world, and I will continue to be content in mine.

Um…the “Peacemakers” aren’t pacifists….they are violent anti-authoritarian cultists. You can tell from his language that he is radicalised.
These are dangerous people.

Really? I thought our reptilian overlords were living in Parliament House. Does not take much imagination to see that with the likenesses and behaviour of Peter Dutton, Cash, Morrison, Taylor, Tudge etc….they would eat their own children for a vote so it seems.

Michael Lamont9:24 am 18 Feb 22

While I agree with freedom of speech and the right to protest, the Commonwealth has no power over the mandatory vaccinations that are being imposed by the States and Territories. States and Territories, thanks to Federation and the manner in which our from of government works, have the individual powers to introduce legislation into their own jurisdictions and to do what they see as a best fit for their states – this is not going to change. The protesters would be better served sitting in front of the Parliaments of their respective jurisdictions and protest there. The federal government can not direct the states to not pass legislation around vaccine mandates. It is my understanding that the only ‘mandate’ introduced by the Commonwealth pertains to Family Tax Benefit A and the immunisation status of the child. This effects the monetary payment that may be received – the Commonwealth does not direct that they cannot go to school etc. – again this is the State.

By all means protest, but do it where you need the action taken – in you own States – the Commonwealth Government can not force the State and Territories to not legislate for mandatory vaccination.

While we are discussing what is a State or Federal responsibility, we can note also that the private sector can require vaccination (with the usual caveats) of employees where it is reasonable to do so, provided it is a contract for new employment or part of an enterprise agreement. I am not sure all of the “private freedoms” protesters grasp that.

charlotteleclerc9:07 am 18 Feb 22

Wow, “tough shit” Lifeline, Farmers market, The Pop Inn, and all other charities and businesses that did not operate due to the boorish, selfish actions of a rabble without a clue

Martin Keast7:39 am 18 Feb 22

I joined the protest march last Saturday along with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren because I am convinced we have seen the biggest power grab in recent history. The governments are claiming to “follow the science” whilst completely ignoring it – these protestors are democracy in action. We owe a huge debt to the Canadian truckers who have had enough of the overreach of government. As a Canberran I am very much on the side of the protesters and hope our governments will pay attention, restore our freedoms to chose our medical treatments and what we wear on our faces and get out of our lives. I also hope we have a royal Commission to examine and count the cost of the actions of government through the pandemic – lockdowns did not work, were unjustified and have ruined our economy. The government spending lies behind the massive inflation we are now seeing. We have to learn from this so we don’t repeat it.

Could you elaborate further on what science the government ignored, in order to further its alleged power grab on our freedoms?

I can fix your post for you:
“I joined the protest march last Saturday along with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren because I am attempting to orchestrate the biggest power grab in recent history. I’m trying to get the Federal Government to take over powers that Federation gave to the states. ”
There you go. A more accurate description of the apparent goals of the protestors.

Martin Keast, you are free to choose your own medical treatments. Why did you think you were not?
However, where your choices impinge on others, you may be restricted for the benefit of the wider society.
You can even be restrained by a court where your choice affects an individual, for example if you tried to deny a dependant a necessary blood transfusion.
Do you disagree with these things? Do you think your case is special, or are you confused about what is personal and what is public?
Answers you might attempt to pdpd’s question or Spiral’s point may also be interesting to you, if you address them without presumptions.

Samson is somewhat mistaken to point the finger at psychopathic Freemasons when the real puppet masters behind the vaccines, mandates, and what have you are the shape shifting reptilians who have their base underneath Mt Ainslie.

Some people are very angry and that clouds judgement. I am not a conspiracy theorist but will admit there are elements of society that are looking out for themselves to the detriment of the public whom they are supposed to serve. At the end of the day it revolves around power and wealth. The COVID situation is merely a catalyst for those without power to strike out at those whom they assume have power.

This is Australia, not American and Trump tried the same nonsense with claims about crowd numbers at his inauguration. You are so naive Scott Anthony….and old enough to know better. I would expect this comment from a stoner teenager.

Scott Anthony6:05 pm 17 Feb 22

A professional estimate put the crowd at 97,000 and my own 35 years in Canberra would suggest thats much closer to the correct number having seen plenty of gatherings in Canberra in this time.. It is disappointing that the AFP have continued to downplay the numbers, their job is not to tell lies or spread propaganda.

I can accept the figure was above the figure estimated by the Police… but you are having a lend if you believe it was near 100k.

Canberra’s population is near 400k. You are arguing that the equivalent of 25% of us were there… It simply is not logical.

Also “Professional”… How is this even qualified.

The crowd was a lot closer to 9,700 than 97,000.
I’ve lived in Canberra for 31 years and in that time I learned that living in the least crowded city in Australia for a long time does nothing to confer crowd estimating skills.
The National Folk Festival packs out EPIC with campers and their last Covid free event had a total of 13,300 people attend – over four days.

Scott Anthony, police make professional estimates because it is their job to know with what they are dealing, what resources they might need to manage the event. As Jay Bee pointed out, your own opinion of your own skills is not relevant and, by other experience, obviously wrong.
I note you did not name your source, their credentials, or their published basis of opinion.

Hahahahaha… That would be by a professional Crowd Estimator, would it, Scott…? ?. Sorry mate, I live in Civic and saw them shamble past on their way to Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and 10 K would seem pretty spot on. BTW, does your professional do private estimates? I’d like him to appraise my house before I put it up for sale. He must be worth 10 times what he charges ?

swaggieswaggie8:15 pm 17 Feb 22

Drone footage doesnt lie and none of the videos suggested there were no more than 15000 there and that’s being generous.

The group gathered at Commonwealth Park to walk across the bridge was about 3,000.
The were met by another 1,000 coming from other directions and others turned up as the day wore on.
The police estimate of 10,000 was generous – at no point was any part of the grassy area actually crowded, with much of it vacant and the rest mostly occupied by people on picnic rugs.
These people who think freemasons are out to get them, and who mistake sunburn for 5G radiation burns are very keep to delude themselves that they had a million people there.
*Nothing* they say remotely resembles fact or reality.

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