A small group of vaccine-mandate protesters gathered on Thursday outside an Australian immigration facility where tennis superstar Novak Djokovic is still held in custody after being denied entry into the country.
The group stationed themselves outside the facility, which is actually a quarantine hotel in Melbourne in which Djokovic, 34, should stay until his deportation. There were reportedly only a dozen people among the protesters, and the only reported spectators were some journalists and some police officers standing outside the hotel.
9 News Melbourne reporter Lana Murphy captured video of protesters as they filed their case outside an immigration facility. A man with a megaphone, who appeared to be the leader of the group, could be heard speaking in front of the building.
“Don’t forget what happened to Donald Trump!” The man appears to be saying. “Don’t forget… Worm… bring change at that time. A hammock I never expected, and it’s going to rain down on this country.”
The protest came in the light of controversy after Serbia-born Djokovic, currently the world’s No. 1 male tennis player, was revoked by the Victoria state government on Wednesday for his visa to play in Australia. came to the country. open. Although never specifically stated that he had not been vaccinated, Djokovic consistently declined to reveal whether he had received the jab, and said in 2020 that he was “opposed to vaccination.”
On the first day, Djokovic wrote that he had been granted a medical exemption to travel Down Under for the tournament, even as the nation continued to struggle with a surge of COVID-19 cases. . However, the Australian Border Force later confirmed they had been ordered to leave the country by Thursday after “failing to provide reasonable evidence” for a waiver.
The state government of Victoria has made it mandatory for all participants, including all players and fans, to provide proof of vaccination at the Australian Open.
In the days leading up to Djokovic’s visa revocation, many Australians expressed outrage that the tennis star was exempted because of her status as an elite athlete, having won the Australian Open nine times.
Among those who spoke was Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who agreed with the decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa.
“Rules are rules, and there are no special cases,” Morrison said of Djokovic during a news conference. “This is government policy. It has been our government’s strong border security policies, especially with regard to the pandemic.”
Morrison continued, “I also want to stress that ultimately, it is the traveler’s responsibility. It is up to the traveler to claim and support their ability to come into the country in accordance with our laws.” “If they don’t follow the rules, the Australian Border Force will do their job, and they’ve done their job. It’s not something about any one person. It’s just a matter of following the rules.”
Djokovic has previously spoken out about his skepticism about the vaccine mandate, and Morrison later said it would have drawn his attention to border officials.
“When you give people public statements about what they have and what they are going to do and what their claims are, they draw significant attention to themselves, and… others,” Morrison argued. Gave.
On the flip-side, vaccine-mandate protesters on social media had echoed in support of Djokovic as the tennis star acted on an appeal to cancel his visa.
However, one person who was not there was another tennis superstar, Rafael Nadal, who said that “[Djokovic] He knew the circumstances several months in advance, so he takes his own decision.”
newsweek Representatives have been reached out to Djokovic for comment.