Melbourne teachers have engaged in a nationwide peaceful protest under the hashtag #ReclaimTheLine against mandatory vaccination programs for teachers and essential workers.
‘Wear a white t-shirt’ was advertised as a way of showing solidarity with Australian workers forced to vaccinate in order to keep their jobs.
The silent protest in Victoria has been heavily policed, with several protesters already arrested.
Protesters have called the decision by Premier Daniel Andrews to mandate Covid vaccination ‘unlawful’. A complaint letter was sent to Jenny Atta, secretary of the Department of Education, stating that the mandate was ‘clearly not supportive of all school staff as some staff will be clearly disadvantaged’.
#ReclaimTheLine was organised by National Education United – an alliance of teachers and workers fighting against government health mandates.
"No Jab, No Job policies are being implemented through coercion, manipulation or ‘incentives’, and everyday Aussies are losing their rights to work.
"There is also a frightening danger of Australia seeing vaccination passports for the first time.
"Is this really the type of society we want live in? Each of us has to decide where we draw our line in the sand and to take relevant action, with courage and heart,” said National Education United spokesperson Christian Marchegiani.
The peaceful protesters insist that vaccination should remain a free choice, not a government mandate. Those who refuse to comply will lose their jobs.
Not all the protesters in attendance are unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated teachers and workers have joined the movement in the interest of promoting choice and body autonomy. It unites a range of industries including teachers, police, paramedics, aged-care, healthcare, firefighters, construction workers, airline staff, miners, and truck drivers.
“It should be a choice and I don’t agree with how long-serving teachers are going to lose their jobs over this, it’s not right,” said an unnamed woman to the Herald Sun.
Unvaccinated staff remain a minority, but that does not make their right to work any less valid.