Vegan activists have wreaked havoc on cities and farms across the country in what has been dubbed the biggest animal rights protest in the world – with PM Scott Morrison branding it “shameful” and “un-Australian”.
The passionate protestors came out in full force on Monday morning with groups of people converging on abattoirs and city centres, even blocking one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections.
Carrying signs and banners reading “this is a peaceful protest”, the activists were working to bring attention to film Dominion and “the dark side of animal agriculture”.
INCIDENT: CBD – A protest currently underway in the CBD has the Flinders Street Swanston Street intersection blocked. @VictoriaPolice are currently on-site. Allow extra time. #victraffic pic.twitter.com/fegQOalKX3
— VicTraffic (@VicTraffic) April 7, 2019
Commuters were forced to take alternative routes to work with the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Street blocked as protestors chained themselves to a number of vehicles.
The situation was being monitored by Victoria Police who were on hand to break up the protests should it get out of hand. They also noted a number of other protests by vegan activists taking place in other locations including Bacchus Marsh, Laverton North, Pakenham and Corio.
“Officers are currently monitoring the protest to ensure there are no breaches of the peace,” they said in a statement.
“The safety of the community is our number one priority. Victoria Police respects people’s right to protest peacefully but will not tolerate any anti-social behaviour or violence.”
At around 9am Victoria Police began to break up the protest with 10 News reporter Kristina Costalos capturing footage of officers at the scene. According to the journalist, arrests were being made.
— Kristina Costalos (@kcostalos) April 7, 2019
Meanwhile, Queensland Police were forced to break up a protest at an abattoir in Warwick, in the state’s south east after activists chained themselves to equipment inside the facility, Nine News reports.
According to the news outlet, police were called to Carey Bros Abattoir at around 3.30am on Monday morning after around 20 animal rights campaigners entered the facility and a further 200 protested outside.
The protest concluded at around 5.30am and no arrests had been made.
According to Nine News the large scale protest was planned last week by an animal activist group which had sent a “secret memo” out.
Speaking about the call to action on morning program Today, event organiser Kristen Leigh said they wanted to highlight the apparent mistreatment of animals throughout the country.
“We want to show we’re regular people who have had enough, we are killing the planet and killing animals at rates that are just unacceptable,” she explained on Monday morning.
“And drastic times call for drastic measures so that is why we’re here today. We have nine teams around Australia that are going to places of violence to draw attention to them directly.”
The Queensland government have announced they will be issuing on the spot fines to animal rights protesters who trespass on farms with officials saying penalties will be “severe” and “to the maximum” available. #9Today pic.twitter.com/PDbrMfw1Vl
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 7, 2019
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has since slammed protestors for their actions, labelling them “un-Australian” during an interview with 2GB on Monday. The Liberal leader said what activists were doing was “shameful” and against the morals of Aussies.
“It is shameful, it is un-Australian,” he reportedly told hosts on the program. “This is just another form of activism that I think runs against the national interest, and the national interest is being able to farm their own land.”
The massive protests follow heartbreaking news on Sunday that country cafe owners in Victoria were forced to close up shop after receiving a flurry of threats from activists.
John and Penny Gommans took to social media at the weekend to let followers know they were shutting the doors of the Gippy Goat Cafe in the town of Yarragon, around 110km south-east of Melbourne. The Aussies explained that activists had invaded the premises on a number of occasions, even stealing some of their animals.
“The Gippy Goat Café has decided to close, today will be our last day,” they wrote in the post on Facebook. “This was not an easy decision to reach, however for the sake of our health and safety and that of our families and staff we feel that it is regrettably the best option.
“Our staff and customers have been subjected to nearly 4 months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from the abusive vegan activists. We have personally been subjected to an appalling stream of threats of extreme violence against ourselves, our family, our staff and even their families.
“Society is the loser; the anonymous bullies, hypocrites, law breakers and self-professed paragons of moral and social justice have won.”