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College students react to seeing footage of violent crackdowns over COVID in Australia

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A YouTube channel named “Vegan Bros” published a video on Thursday of students at Arizona State University being shown footage of police and military crackdowns in Australia over COVID lockdowns, with most of the students aghast at what they saw.

With one exception, none of the students in the video appeared to have any knowledge of the current state of affairs in the country, presumably because reports of that nature are not disseminated to outlets they would watch on TV or the internet.

The images of excessive and violent use of force from the authorities in Melbourne and Sidney caused one student to ask, “This is because of COVID?”

“And this is all for not staying inside?” Another confused student asked.

One woman said initially that she had respect for Australia and remarked on their low case numbers, but after witnessing the footage seemed to think it was “brutal behavior” and that “violence is not the answer”, though she argued that she needed to see more context than what was in the short video.

(**Age-restricted/Language Warning:)

In any case, her initial assessment was wrong as cases in Melbourne reached a record high on Thursday, despite two months of lockdowns.

One man responded with, “It seems a little over the top, ” then thought better of it, saying “More than a little over the top. That was a lot over the top.”

Most of the clips shown were out of Melbourne and Sidney, but a few were included that showed civilians in the U.S. and Venezuela with bloody impact wounds from rubber bullets fired by police and military.

In one particularly violent clip, a man is seen calmly talking to police at a transportation terminal of some kind, when another officer walks up behind him, grabs his shoulders and slams him down on the tile floor.

Interestingly, the student who initially respected Australia said of COVID measures in general, “I don’t think it should be super-political.”

One student speculated that the footage was being intentionally blocked from major coverage here in America.

The island country of Australia has been in and out of lockdowns – mostly in – for the better part of the COVID pandemic, with recent months augmenting the restrictions with more heavy-handed enforcement and the activation of military along with police in keeping people off the streets and in their homes.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that the months-long travel restrictions in and out of the country will be lifted, though it doesn’t seem likely they will see a resurgence of tourism anytime soon.

In the past few months alone, many reports have emerged of intrusive and draconian restrictions in the country, including such messages from New South Wales Chief Health Officer, Dr. Kerry Chant, who announced in late July:

“We all need to work together. We need to limit our movements. We need to consider whenever we leave our house that anyone with us and anyone we come into contact with can convey the virus. So whilst it is in human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately, this is not the time to do that.

So even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center … don’t start up a conversation. Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others. Even if you’ve got a mask, do not think that affords total protection. We want to be absolutely sure that as we go about our daily lives we do not come into contact with anyone else that would pose a risk.”

In one particularly grotesque departure from civilized behavior, a report surfaced that law enforcement in Australia were shooting dogs at rescue shelters in order to keep people from venturing out of their homes to adopt a pet.

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis mused that it might be time to cut diplomatic ties with Australia, asking, “Is Australia freer than China, communist China, right now? I don’t know. The fact that that’s even a question tells you something has gone dramatically off the rails with some of this stuff.”

Frank Webster

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