Event organisers who oppose the vaccine mandate and two-week shutdown of the Victorian construction industry have promised to rally “every day” until their demands are met.
Passionate crowds chanted “every day” as they marched through the CBD and clashed with police before spilling out onto the West Gate Freeway.
A list of demands was issued before Tuesday’s protest calling for an end to lockdowns, vaccine mandates and the mask mandate.
Concerns Melbourne protest won’t de-escalate
List of Demands
Emergency state powers to be removed immediately
Lockdowns to end immediately
Mask mandate to end immediately
Vaccine mandates to end immediately
Vaccine passport to be removed
Immediate resignation of Premier Daniel Andrews
Immediate resignation of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton
Immediate resignation of Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton
Royal commission into government’s response to pandemic
Charges laid against officers for ‘assaulting peaceful protesters’
All construction sites to resume immediately.
Construction workers march through the streets in Melbourne for a second day of protests against a sector-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced by the Andrews government. Picture: Getty
Traffic along the West Gate Freeway was stopped in both directions by construction workers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Picture: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images
Protesters block West Gate Freeway
Tuesday’s rally was labelled “Victorian Workers Rally for Freedom” and attendees were instructed on Telegram to bring friends, family and food.
Victorian authorities have warned the protests which took place on Monday and Tuesday could become super spreader events.
Tensions boiled over on Monday after Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton mandated vaccinations for the construction industry and banned break and tea rooms.
All construction workers are required to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11.59pm on September 23.
COMMUTER CHAOS: Protesters block several lanes causing widespread traffic
Monday’s rally saw mask-less construction workers storm the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne, throwing bottles and reportedly smashing loudspeakers.
Monday’s mob of workers were dress in high-vis gear and chanted F*** the jab” while calling on the union to stand up for the work force.
CFMEU state secretary John Setka was on a loudspeaker trying to calm the angry crowd who were calling him, “Dan Andrews’ b****”.
His words only served to escalate the rally with protesters labelling him a “liar” and urging him to “stand down”.
Construction workers protest continues in Melbourne
Viral footage later showed tradies shouting at union representatives guarding the door before hurling water bottles and bread crates towards them.
It comes after the Victorian government reported last week that 13 per cent of the state’s active COVID-19 cases were linked to construction site transmission.
Following the protest on Monday evening, the Andrews government announced a two-week closure for work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast from midnight.
State Treasurer Tim Pallas confirmed the news about two hours before the shutdown came into effect citing “non-compliance” and “appalling behaviour” from a rowdy Monday protest.
Construction workers protest along the West Gate Freeway on September 21, 2021 in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
Strong police response seen in Melbourne amid ongoing protests
The mob then returned for a second day of protests on Tuesday, marching through the streets, clashing with police and blocking traffic on the West Gate Freeway.
Unions and politicians have distanced themselves from the protesters who were labelled far right extremists and anti-vaxxers.
Industry groups estimate lockdowns have cost the construction industry $455 million each day while the two-week closure could wipe $6.3 billion from the sector’s bottom line.
Melburnians are now in the seventh week of the state’s sixth lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March last year. 
The city will have spent more time in lockdown than any other city in the world on September 23 when it hits 235 days under stay-at-home restrictions – breaking Buenos Aires’ 234-day record. 

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