Corona protests get out of control, Melbourne shut down construction industry

The construction industry in the Australian city of Melbourne will be quiet over the next two weeks. The regional authorities have decided to do so because of violent corona protests by construction workers, involving extremist groups, and poor compliance with the coronavirus measures within the sector.

In construction, a vaccination requirement will apply from 24 September due to limited compliance with coronavirus measures in the industry. On Tuesday, 603 new infections were recorded in the state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, a spike in the current outbreak. About two out of three infections have a link to construction. Once work resumes, all workplaces must comply with the corona measures. Staff must be able to prove that they have had at least one corona strike.

Five hundred people held a demonstration against vaccination duty at the office of a construction union on Monday. Protesters threw bottles and other objects at union leaders and demolished the office door. The crowd was dismembered by the riot police. Regional Industry Minister Tim Pallas says he saw โ€œhorrible behavior.โ€ โ€œNow we act resolutely and without hesitation.โ€

The group of protesters included neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists in addition to construction workers, reports the union. He condemns the violence and points out that โ€œclearly a minority of those who participated in the protest were real union members.โ€

Angry crowds rallied again Tuesday and set fireworks on the streets of Melbourne. They also threw cans and kicked police cars, and Australian media reports that police were using rubber bullets to reduce the crowd.