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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Blarat companies forced to close due to “freedom” protests | courier

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Ballarat CBD businesses were forced to close after protesters blocked busy city streets for a so-called “Freedom” march on a busy day of commerce before Christmas. With the march taking place from Civic Hall to Bakery Hill along Armstrong Street, Sturt Street and Bridge Mall, many businesses have decided to close in anticipation of the event including Midtown Cellars and Bar and Collins Booksellers Ballarat in Lydiard and Kittelty’s. Read more: Eureka Day Protests: Council, businesses and police brace for protest march across Ballarat The shutdown is particularly damaging to many businesses that have just come out of more than 18 months of lockdown and have been looking forward to a busy summer of trade. Other businesses have remained open with employees and owners closely monitoring the proceedings from their doors as the protests have passed. The protest caused temporary road closures on Mayer Street, Armstrong Street, Sturt Street, Camp Street, Grenfell Street, Beale Street and Main Road, as a disappointed crowd made their way through town. While some early crowd estimates have reached as high as 10,000 for the week, it’s possible that the real number is very shy of that sign. Many protesters carried upturned Australian flags and red banners, along with the Greek, Polish, New Zealand, Iraqi, Lebanese, French and Croatian flags. Some carried banners protesting against vaccine mandates or the recently passed pandemic-related legislation, while others carried banners protesting a host of other laws that were in place long before the pandemic spread. Many protesters also took the decision to bring their young children, who participated in the demonstration, chanting slogans and singing songs. A large police presence had gathered at Civic Hall from early afternoon as protesters began arriving from Melbourne and led the group across the street to their final destination at the skate park on the main road in Bakery Hill. Several spectators gathered on Meyer Street, opposite Civic Hall, to watch the protest from afar but without participating. The demonstrators marched on their demonstration in a largely peaceful manner as most of the onlookers turned away from the road. If you’re seeing this message, you’re a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we’ve made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you so much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling the Ballarat story. We appreciate your support for the press in our great city.

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