“The way they’re doing this here today is disgusting. It’s just not Australian,” he told Sky News Reporter Julia Bradley in an open-air interview at the site of the rally.
“These people don’t even deserve the right to hold the Australian flag. I served for 20 years in our army and this is a sacred place and these people should be ashamed of themselves in my opinion.”
While groups like the Hawthorn RSL echoed the veteran’s sentiments, others said the war memorial is a “fitting” location given the iconic structure was “blocked off to war veterans last Anzac Day”.
Wednesday has seen a more peaceful group of protesters gather around the war memorial in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
“Everyone has a right to protest peacefully. At least there’s no violence today like the horrible things we’ve seen in the last couple of days,” the veteran said.
Viral clips on social media have shown hundreds on the steps of the war memorial where Anzac Day events are held each year, vowing to return “every day” until their demands have been heard.
Speaking of clashes that have occurred between police and protesters over the past three days, the veteran said the police “don’t deserve” aggression from activists.
“The police, they don’t deserve this, getting attacked. They are just doing the job the government – Mr Andrews, not the Chief Health Officer – but what Daniel Andrews is telling them to do,” he said.
“The other thing is this is going to cost our state hundreds of thousands of dollars every day and we are going to end up paying for it.
“These people instead of being here congratulating themselves for being absolute idiots, should be going and helping old people in their homes that need food. Doing something for someone else.”
Tensions boiled over on Monday after Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton mandated vaccinations for the construction industry and banned break and tea rooms.
‘Get vaccinated, go home’: Stuart Robert blasts Victorian protesters
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.
Monday’s rally saw mask-less construction workers storm the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne, throwing bottles and shouting at union representatives.
Protests blew up further on Tuesday after the Andrews government announced a two-week closure of work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast.
Thousands marched across the city clashing with police and swarming down Melbourne streets, eventually spilling onto West Gate Freeway and blocking traffic.
Melbourne protesters ‘an insult to tradies’
The war memorial has been the focal point of Wednesday’s protest action with activists chanting “freedom” and “every day” followed by clapping and cheering.
The war veteran also pointed out construction workers were fortunate their sector had not been closed for the entirety of lockdown.
“Those people here demonstrating get paid big money and this is what they give back to people. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
A list of demands was issued before Tuesday’s protest calling for an end to lockdowns, vaccine mandates and the mask mandate.
Hundreds of construction workers join Melbourne protests
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.
Tuesday’s rally was labelled “Victorian Workers Rally for Freedom” and attendees were instructed on Telegram to bring friends, family and food.
Hundreds of construction workers join Melbourne protests
The veteran admitted he “didn’t want to get the vax” but had received it after realising he would not be able to live a normal life without it.
“We’re not going to be able to live a life unless we have it. We’re not going to be able to do anything,” he said.
“Even people who think like me, and I’m not an anti-vaxxer because I got it, they are all saying the same thing.
“This is totally ridiculous. Our cops deserve better. We deserve better. They just need to go and get the vax so we can get back to life.”
‘We’re so, so close’ to vaccine targets: Andrews
He revealed he had attended Anzac Day celebrations which were severely limited by the Andrews government due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Following the event, the government faced backlash over the limits which mean many veterans were not able to attend the demonstration in person.
“I was here on Anzac Day and I marched and I was interviewed by another channel actually and we only marched 500 metres and there was hardly anyone here,” he said.
“It was so disappointing because on Anzac Day it’s a day where we remember all of our mates that have died in war or who are suffering from war.”
‘Unacceptable behaviour’: PM slams protesters
“We couldn’t’ go out afterwards and celebrate and remember them. It was atrocious yet this is happening and I don’t know how you stop it. 
“These people have no respect for Australia, our values and the way of life and one of those values is freedom of speech and making a choice but they need to do it in a different way.”
Hawthorn RSL Sub Branch released a statement condemning the use of the Shrine of Remembrance as a protest location.
“It is a sacred place for Australians to commemorate those who fought and died for us,” the statement read.
“We gather there to remember with respect and dignity and it is not appropriate to use this hallowed location for any protest.”
It comes as Victoria reported 628 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths overnight – a new record for the state’s Delta outbreak.
Last week the Victorian government reported 13 per cent of the state’s active COVID-19 cases were linked to construction site transmission.

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