Loaded rifle seized from anti-vaccine mandate protester in Canberra after police moved them on from Parliament grounds
Anti vaccine mandate protestors in Canberra have been moved by police
A camp of around 250 vehicles were advised by police they were there illegally
Most people moving voluntarily but one car has had to be towed away
Police had warned protestors on Wednesday the camp was in breach of the law
Published: 06:39 GMT, 4 February 2022 | Updated: 06:41 GMT, 4 February 2022
Police have seized a loaded modified rifle during a COVID-19 protest as they moved anti-vaccination protesters on from the Patrick White Lawns in Canberra this morning.
ACT Police said the operation was peaceful and no arrests were made in relation to crowd behaviour.
But police did arrest a 44-year-old man after a search warrant was executed.
‘A loaded modified rifle was located in his vehicle and he is expected to be charged with the possession of an illegal firearm,’ the statement read.
‘He will also face multiple traffic offences in relation to the roadworthiness of his vehicle.’
Around 250 vehicles have been parked around the National Library and Patrick White Lawns, with police telling the anti-vaccine mandate protesters on Wednesday they were camping illegally.
Audio warnings were then given on Thursday before the move-on order was issued on Friday.
Most cars are leaving the area voluntarily but at least one has been towed.
Police officers assemble before remove camping equipment and ask protesters to move on at the protestors’ makeshift camp next to the National Library in Canberra
A protester is pushed to the ground by police as vehicles are moved on from the makeshift camp
Police officers are seen removing camping equipment at the gathering of around 250 vehicles in Canberra
ACT chief police officer Neil Gaughan said protestors were allowed to remain in the area and protest all they like but cannot camp illegally
A family reacts after being asked to pack up and move on by local and Federal police in Canberra. Protestors had extended their stay in the nation’s capital until Federal parliament resumed this week
The action by local police and officers of the Australian Federal Police came after the National Capital Authority asked them yesterday to enforce legislation prohibiting illegal camping and parking at the Patrick White Lawns.
Protestors had been gathered on the lawns for several days.
It is believed members of the convoy had extended their stay in the nation’s capital until Federal parliament resumed this week.
A protester using a megaphone said the crowd would stand their ground but urged those who remained on foot to be peaceful.
ACT chief police officer Neil Gaughan says people are allowed to remain in the area and protest all they like, but cannot camp illegally.
‘This is disruptive to Canberrans. That site was going to be used for events over the weekend and an event tonight,’ he told the ABC.
‘The National Capital Authority has had to cancel that because of the fact that these people are illegally camping, so we are moving them on.’
Items not moved may be seized by police.
Officers had attended the camp on Wednesday, telling campers they were in breach of legislation.
A protester packs up his truck after being asked to move on from the Patrick White Lawns in Canberra
The anti-vaccination mandate campaign, known as the Convoy to Canberra, has included a march on Parliament House on Monday and a rally outside the National Press Club on Tuesday where Prime Minister Scott Morrison was speaking
Officers had attended the camp on Wednesday, telling campers they were in breach of legislation and would be moved on
Protesters sit as police officers remove camping equipment at the gathering of around 250 vehicles near the National Library
The anti-vaccination mandate campaign, known as the Convoy to Canberra, has included a march on Parliament House on Monday and a rally outside the National Press Club on Tuesday where Prime Minister Scott Morrison was speaking.
Police used capsicum spray and made three arrests on Wednesday at the camp.
An ACT policing spokesman said one woman assaulted an officer and was arrested and charged.
Two men also tried to interfere with the woman’s arrest and were also arrested.
Both men were charged with obstructing police.
Anti-vaccine mandate protestors watch as police move on vehicles gathered next to the National Library in Canberra
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