Protester numbers rise on first parliamentary sitting day of year

By Jackson Graham

February 8, 2022

convoy to canberra
Protesters with flags are seen during an anti-vaccination rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Saturday. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Protesters rallying for a range of different causes in Canberra are ramping up their demonstrations, with police resources also due to increase. 

Protesters opposing vaccination mandates from the “Convoy to Canberra” have been growing in number throughout the week, ahead of parliament resuming. 

Security has been tightened around Parliament House, with police expecting thousands to attend the rallies. 

Protesters converged around ABC Canberra buildings on Monday as well as the governor-general’s official residence. 

Meanwhile, a separate protest led by Afghan community members will call for the federal government to end temporary family protection visas.

Refugee advocate Zaki Haidari said the protesters were urging the government to provide permanent protection to refugees from Afghanistan on temporary visas living in the community. 

“Please provide us with permanent protection to stop the long emotional suffering, and allow us to sponsor our families and loved ones, before it is too late and the Taliban take their lives,” Haidari said. 

John Minns, from the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, highlighted a Senate committee looking at Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan had called for a review of current policies and pathways to permanent protection visas. 

“[The] government’s response continues to fall far behind the needs of the time and the standards set in past emergencies,” Minns said. “We will continue to demand more from our elected representatives.”


Disruptions from protests likely to increase ahead of parliament sitting

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