Victoria police got it wrong, fined man with medals and begged protesters to get off Melbourne memorial
A man wearing military medals begging protesters clambering onto Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to get out and respect fallen diggers was later fined by police – only for them to admit they were wrong.
The man, dressed in a suit and with the medals pinned to his chest, asked for a microphone to address the group Wednesday afternoon as police surrounded the monument.
While he said he generally supported the group’s right to protest, the man pleaded with protesters to “respect the shrine” and “step down.”
‘I’m here alone, all I ask is can you respect the shrine? Can you please get up there?’ he begged.
“Everyone has the right to their own rest and to do what they do. All I ask is that you respect the soldiers. Can you please just have respect for the soldiers and the fallen.’
Footage from protesters shows the man being led away by police, and Victoria Police confirm to the Daily Mail Australia that they believed the man had been wrongly fined by officers.
“Victoria Police are aware that a 40-year-old man from West Melbourne has been fined during yesterday’s protest at the Shrine of Remembrance,” a spokeswoman said.
“We are further investigating the circumstances under which he was fined. If it is confirmed that he was not there as part of the protest, which appears to be the case, there is a good chance that his fine will be withdrawn.”
The man, dressed in a suit with what appears to be war medals pinned to his chest, asked for a microphone to address the group as they gathered outside the Shrine of Remembrance – but was not part of the protest
Protesters waved flags as they marched on the war memorial erected to honor fallen soldiers in World War I – much to the horror of veterans’ group across Australia
The monument was littered with trash and the protesters’ belongings on Wednesday as they hurriedly retreated as armed police pressed forward and fired at those trying to hold their own.
“Honestly, I’m speechless and shocked. I cannot comprehend the selfishness that has come to this holy place and is doing this,” said Dean Lee, chief executive of Shrine of Remembrance.
“It’s outrageous, it’s reprehensible and it’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen at the Shrine of Remembrance.”
The memorial boss also claimed that protesters urinated on the shrine during the rally.
“I was shocked by their behavior,” Mr. Lee told the Today show.
“I saw it as completely selfish and disrespectful to the memory of what our Australian men and women have done for our Defense Force.”
The sacred building, which honors Australian men and women who have served on the defense, was the site of the latest demonstration, with a man begging people to “respect the sanctuary” and “resign”
Mr Lee said his first instinct after the crowd dispersed was to inspect the monument for damage.
“I will acknowledge that the protesters did not cause any damage to the monument and for that I am grateful,” he said.
“But there was broken glass, there was trash, there was peeing, there were beer cans, it was just everything this place doesn’t represent and shouldn’t be.”
Members of the nearby Hawthorn RSL came to the sanctuary later Wednesday evening to help clean up the area.
The protesters, who had been demonstrating for three days to end mandatory vaccinations for construction workers, chanted ‘lest we forget’ and the national anthem – before throwing stones at the police, prompting riot police to clear the site. by firing rubber bullets and firing gas grenades.
“Lest we forget” is a phrase used in the oath of remembrance solemnly pronounced during ceremonies — including the annual Anzac Day ceremony — held at the shrine and other war memorials.
Police arrested more than 215 people on Wednesday. According to Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther, handles, golf balls and batteries were thrown at the police.
Two officers suffered head injuries after being pelted with bottles.
Footage from protesters shows the man being led away by police, with Victoria Police confirming to the Daily Mail Australia that they believed the man had been wrongly fined by officers
The man with military medals who attended Melbourne’s protest at the Shrine of Remembrance was fined by the police – only for them to admit they were wrong
Vietnam Veterans Association Victorian state president Bob Elworthy said the “unelevating” protest that unfolded was “one of the most un-Australian things” he had ever seen.
“I just can’t believe these people thought it was okay to go to a place like the shrine and go through there,” he told 3AW.
“I wonder if they would go to their own grandparents’ grave and drink beer on it.
“This bunch of idiots has no moral fiber at all. If they’re going to do that at the shrine, the deity knows where else they’re going to do it.”
Former Australian army veteran Senator Jaquie Lambie also launched an angry rant against the protesters on Thursday morning, which she described as an outrage.
“I can tell you now, for those who have served, for those who have served, they are absolutely disgusted,” the outspoken federal senator angered on Thursday’s Today show.
The man with medals tried to reason with the group before they desecrated the Victorian war memorial on Wednesday
“To walk on that shrine, walk on that hallowed ground and drop your cigarettes and your beer cans everywhere and do what you’ve done is definitely a whole new low for you people.”
The protests initially started in opposition to mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for the construction industry and the closure of tea rooms on the construction site, but have since grown into greater unrest after the state government shut down the industry for two weeks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said those involved should be ashamed of their ‘outrageous’ behaviour.
“Those scenes were outrageous and the behavior was outrageous,” he told reporters in Washington.
‘This is a holy place, it is not a place of protest. It dishonors those Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I hope anyone who has engaged in such outrageous behavior would be ashamed of themselves.”
Protesters set up camp at Melbourne’s war memorial in hopes that police wouldn’t shoot them out of respect for the fallen Anzacs