The latest Launceston rally concerning COVID-19 vaccinations occurred in Civic Square on Saturday. The rally coincided with 30 other rallies at cities across Australia.
At its peak it appeared several hundred were in attendance. One speaker noted that the crowd was "less than last time".
Exact attendance figures aren't yet available but are being calculated by the event organisers based on the total number of single-coin donations collected as attendees began gathering around noon.
Those in attendance ranged broadly in age and included several families.
The rally centred around the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children but speakers also noted an aversion to vaccine mandates and a fear of governmental overreach. The Australian Department of Health maintains that COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and save lives.
A show-of-hands poll suggested that many of the attendees had travelled into Launceston to be at the rally.
Stalls set up at the rally included a group of UTAS staff and students opposing vaccine mandates, as well as a craft table that allowed children to draw around their hands. These drawings were then made into banners reading "Hands off our children".
Two men carried "Free Assange" signs. One woman carried a "Free Hugs" sign.
Around a dozen flags were on display, including several Australian and Australian Aboriginal flags. The most common flag was the Red Ensign, which is often used as a merchant flag but has been re-appropriated in recent years to imply support for the Australian nation but dissatisfaction with the federal government. Many flags were inverted to denote "a nation in distress".
One banner, set behind the speakers' stage, supported the use of Ivermectin as an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccine. The use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 is strongly discouraged by the National COVID Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.
The first speaker began with a Welcome to Country and a Christian prayer. Following speakers included a teacher, a nurse and a 16-year-old girl who claimed to have ongoing debilitating side-effects from the vaccine.
No medical professional has publicly confirmed the girl or her parent's claims.
Another speaker used his slot to sell "No Trespassing" signs that could reportedly "stop any government". Children were then gathered on stage to sing "We are Australia", after which the rally began a march around the Launceston CBD. Following the march other speakers stepped forward, including former doctor Stephen Hindley.
"This is not the time for open defiance. This is the time to put on a mask, blend in and sabotage," he said.
By 2pm, attendance numbers had dropped significantly and the crowd had moved into the shade to avoid the sun.
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