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More than 1,000 protesters have met in Melbourne CBD to demonstrate against Victoria’s new pandemic legislation, which passed through the Upper House during the week.
The contentious Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 will replace the State of Emergency which has been in place since early 2020.
After weeks of negotiations with crossbenchers and a highly politicised backlash against the legislation, the final version of the bill contained several amendments relating to transparency and accountability.
Legal experts and human rights groups have been broadly supportive of the amendments, with the Law Institute of Victoria and Ombudsman dropping their opposition to the legislation, but some argue more safeguards are still needed.
The anti-legislation protests have also contained a large contingent of anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protesters.
Violent and offensive imagery seen at demonstrations last month were widely condemned.
Hundreds and hundreds of people have met near Parliament House in Melbourne this afternoon and are now marching to the nearby Treasury Gardens. The demonstration so far appears largely peaceful.
Reporting by Yara Murray-Atfield