Since coronavirus pandemic lockdowns were implemented by many governments in 2020, people around the world have held largely peaceful protests against unprecedented social distancing restrictions that are devastating global economies and ruining people’s lives.Now, faced with being ordered to obey new laws that require them to be injected with COVID-19 vaccines in order to enter public spaces or hold a job, on July 24, 2021—World Freedom Day—hundreds of thousands of people of all ages took to the streets in Australia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece and Germany to publicly challenge oppressive public health laws.
The messages on the signs they held were diverse but they were united in pushing back against government overreach. The brave determination of people, in democracies around the world who are publicly defending civil liberties—freedom of thought, speech, conscience and assembly—and the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking, demonstrates that the spirit of freedom lives in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Both those who gather in the public squares of cities big and small and those who are watching are inspired by this commitment to defending liberty.
In the United States, no large demonstrations have been held yet, but polls reveal the nation is sharply divided about COVID-19 vaccine mandates. A Politico/Harvard poll taken in late June 2021 found that Americans were evenly split on whether children should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to go to school and more than half of employed Americans are against COVID-19 vaccine requirements for holding a job, while almost 70 percent of Americans oppose being required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter a store or business. A recent CS Mott Children’s Hospital poll found that more than half of parents in the U.S. with children between the ages of three and 11 say it is unlikely they will give their children the COVID-19 vaccine.
Australia: “The lockdown is killing us, not COVID”
With a population of 25 million people, Australians have been subjected to repeated strict lockdowns over the past 18 months and the government’s “stay at home” lockdown in early July 2021 was imposed on New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, where more than half the country’s population lives. The 30-day rigid social distancing restrictions were enacted after 176 new daily infections were registered in the whole country.