The Guardian is openly calling for doxxing in anti-vax & lockdown protestors:
Who’s behind Australia’s anti-lockdown protests? The German conspiracy group driving marches
German-based Worldwide Demonstration helped coordinate rallies across Australia, with their message amplified by local anti-vaxx and ‘freedom’ influencers
A German-based conspiracy group helped to drive a series of anti-lockdown protests across Australia which saw dozens of people arrested and hundreds fined after violent clashes with police.
Police arrested more than 60 people and fined 107 more after a crowd of about 3,000 gathered in Sydney on Saturday to protest against the city’s lockdown.
Coordinated by a loose network of conspiracy-laced groups, including some with links to the far right, rallies took place in cities across Australia and the globe, with violent clashes between demonstrators and police in Sydney.
Nothing is more abhorrent to commie agitprops than what they traditionally call “counter-revolutionaries”. But nowadays “conspiracy theorists” & “Far-Right” often does the trick.
Protests against Covid restrictions have become common throughout the pandemic. While billed as peaceful protests, police said they were surprised by “the level of violence that people were prepared to use”.
Prior to Saturday, word of the protests was spread through a collection of Telegram, Instagram and Facebook posts, often amplified by large anti-vaccination and conspiracy pages that have amassed followings in the tens of thousands during the pandemic.
The latest rallies have highlighted the role of a German-based group, named Worldwide Demonstration, which has helped to coordinate protests across the globe, including in various Australian cities.
The group has 45,000 Facebook followers and 70,000 Telegram subscribers on its main accounts alone, and even more on dedicated accounts set up for individual countries.
The group appears to be run out of Germany by individuals calling themselves “Freie Bürger Kassel”, or the Free Citizens of Kassel. Its main Facebook page is administered by two Germans and a third individual in the United Kingdom.
Posts about Saturday’s rallies in Australian cities began on its main Telegram account last month, on 26 June, when it announced the time and location for the Melbourne march. That post was seen by more than 20,000 people.
There were similar posts for marches in Townsville, Cairns, Gympie, Perth, Brisbane and Darwin on 10 July, and then Hobart, Sydney and Adelaide on 21 July, three days before the rally.
The group’s various Facebook and Telegram pages are awash with anti-vaccine and Covid-19 conspiracy theories, as well as other conspiratorial content such as QAnon and Islamophobia.
An investigation by Logically earlier this year revealed that Worldwide Demonstration was behind a wave of 129 coordinated events and protests in March. It also planned similar rallies in May.
The graphics it created for the July marches were shared and adapted into more localised Telegram channels under the banner of “Australia Freedom Rally”.
Messaging about the rallies was amplified by existing local groups and influencers.
In Australia, a Melbourne-based group has helped promote protests throughout the pandemic. The Guardian has previously revealed Harrison McLean, a 24-year-old IT programmer from Wantirna South, had become a key organiser of the protests in that city.
Like many of the organisers, those groups have a significant rightwing bent. In March the Guardian revealed McLean had outlined his plans to introduce his “freedom” group to more radical political views, while expressing deeply antisemitic opinions.