Protests an affront to pharmacists: union

Melbourne curfew sign

The union representing employee pharmacists says this week’s protests against COVID-19 regulations are offensive to its members

As Melbourne endures a third day of sometimes violent protests against lockdown measures and COVID-19 vaccination, Professionals Australia has criticised those taking to the streets.

On Wednesday protesters surrounded the Shrine of Remembrance and, according to the Herald Sun, sang the national anthem and slammed the vaccines as well as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

This followed an attack by a crowd on the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union Victorian Branch office this week.

The CFMEU itself had hit out at the crowd’s actions, saying in a statement that the protesters had been “heavily infiltrated by neo-Nazis and other right wing extremist groups and it is clear that a minority of those who participated were actual union members”.

Professionals Australia and Professional Pharmacists Australia said on Wednesday that it condemns the protests.

It said they were “orchestrated by violent right-wing extremists and anti-vaccination activists”.

“The violent attacks on emergency services workers are completely unacceptable and are an affront to every Australian worker who has made extraordinary personal sacrifices throughout this pandemic,” the union said.

“These acts are particularly offensive to frontline healthcare workers including our pharmacists, who for over 18 months now, have undertaken great risks to their own health and wellbeing to provide our community with the important medical services and supplies they require.

“These workers continue to work under intense pressure each and every day to protect our health and safety and to care for us.

“High vaccination rates are required to keep our communities safe, and to ensure that our communities and economy can reopen in a manner that does not put thousands of lives, particularly those of our most vulnerable, at risk.

“We condemn those who deliberately spread misinformation against the vaccination program and encourage the community to refer to authoritative public health advice based on expert science and medical research.

“We stand with other unions in condemning these unacceptable acts of disruption and violence which, undertaken in the midst of a pandemic, put the entire community’s health at risk.”

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