In a surprising turn of events, Australia has become the focal point of New York Protests against vaccination mandates throughout the state.
Protestors chanted “Save Australia” and brandished Australian flags as they gathered outside the Department of Education headquarters on Monday, October 4.
This coincided with the implementation of vaccine mandates for New York school teachers which came into effect that morning.
Hundreds of protesters, primarily New York school teachers who advocated pro-choice in regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, took to the streets in opposition of the new mandates. Somewhat surprising is the focus placed on Australia which, according to protestors, needs “saving”.
The rally began outside the Department of Education headquarters and concluded outside the Australian consulate in mid-town where a number of speeches took place.
This sentiment of ‘Save Australia’ seems an obvious point of irony given the stark disparities between the two countries’ COVID-19 statistics. As pointed out by many, New York’s population of around 8 million has suffered a death toll of approximately 55,000 whereas Melbourne, with a population of roughly 6.7 million, has had 877 deaths.
"Who's Body, My Body, Who's Choice, My Choice" Chant hundreds of people as they take over Brooklyn Bridge and march in the roadway.
— Scootercaster (@ScooterCasterNY) October 4, 2021
Given these statistics, one might question the motive of New Yorkers who see the need to “Save Australia.”
Protesters are clearly unconcerned with these figures as they object to the strict implementation of vaccine mandates which, like the ones already implemented for authorised workers in Victoria, are now being rolled out for New York’s school teachers.
One of the rally’s speakers had this to say, “What’s going on in Australia is not just going to be Australia. And when it shows up on our doorsteps, we’re gonna punch it right in the f***ing teeth.”
In response to these events there have been a series of hilariously sarcastic comments from the Australian public.
What do Americans think is happening in Australia? And why do they suddenly have such an active interest? This is… bizarre. https://t.co/ie9sKwexxo
— Hunter Marston (@hmarston4) October 5, 2021
President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki had already been asked if he would consider implementing similar measures seen in Australia if case numbers rose in the US throughout the winter. To this she gave no definitive answer.
The reporters questioning, which referred to the “very disturbing images out of Australia”, demonstrates a mounting concern amongst US groups of vaccine mandates.