“I think there were some people there who you would say were from the building industry. There were others who were not from the building industry. They’re not there to protests, they’re there for a fight, pretend to be protesting,” he said during a press conference early on Wednesday morning.
“They’re from many different backgrounds. What offends me is not only is the conduct, but in my job, over many years, I have met hundreds and thousands of builders, hundreds and thousands of tradies who build this state, whether it be removing level crossings, building hospitals and schools, all the way through to building homes.
He described it as an “insult” for hardworking tradies who were about “building” up the industry.
Premier Daniel Andrews was left “offended” by the protests in Melbourne. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Mr Andrews said the “real demonstration” was the one seen at state vaccination hubs, GPS and pharmacies where more than 88,000 residents came forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Premier said there were 350 COVID-19 cases linked across 150 construction sites in August and September.
“That’s where the cases are. 350 of them. More cases in construction than aged-care,” he said.
“More cases in construction than any other sector pretty well … it’s more than a trend.”
He said “action” such as mandatory vaccination for the construction industry and the shut down of the sector for two weeks, was needed to slow coronavirus transmission.
Victoria Police will be ‘acting swiftly’ to combat chaotic protests
Mr Andrews stands firm on the mandatory vaccination for the construction industry mandated by Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.
He believes it was the right move and the decision was not “taken lightly”.
“That’s why people who have been closed for the best part of two years must be scratching their heads and be furious to think that an industry that’s been open has had to be closed because we got cases, because we have got real compliance issues, there were, there were real compliance issues in the lead-up to that decision,” he said.
Mr Andrews warned other industries will have vaccinations mandated before they are allowed to work. An announcement is expected as early as Wednesday.
NED-4588-VIC-roadmap-out-of-lockdown
Victorian Police Commissioner Shane Patton stressed residents planning to gather in the city for a third day of protests will be met with new tactics and more police resources on the ground.
“I’m not going to step through the amount of police that we’re going to have on deck today, I’m not going to talk about what our tactics are save to say that those tactics will be different and we have significant police numbers,” he said.
He added while there were many members of the construction industry in the rally, there were also “representations” from right-wing groups.
An estimated two thousand demonstrators rallied over the vaccine mandate in Melbourne CBD. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Traffic was brought to a standstill on the West Gate Bridge with hundreds of protesters taking to the streets. Picture: Supplied
“We know from what we have been monitoring that people are being encouraged to put on high-viz gear, to put on workwear, to come in under the cover of a crowd and not necessarily trades people, but people who are tied up with the Freedom Rally, people who are tied up with other issue-motivated groups who seek to hide under the cover of this demonstration,” he said.
“We know that’s occurring. So it’s a very mixed crowd.”
Commissioner Patton described the situation on Tuesday as “fluid” and “challenging” but were determined to ensure public safety was at the forefront of authorities’ minds.

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