A protester against COVID-19 vaccination mandates paraded at a main intersection in the heart of Melbourne, Australia, wearing an outfit reminiscent of inmates in Nazi concentration camps on Saturday.
The man, who wore striped pajamas and a striped hat, held up a sign reading “History repeats” as he called out anti-vaccination slogans.
Two Jewish women initially accosted the man, said Dvir Abramovich, chairman of Anti-Defamation Commission rights group.
Abramovich said one of the women told him that she has Holocaust survivors in her family.
The pair were joined by several others who challenged the protester over his behavior. Then another woman attacked him, Abramovich said.
According to witnesses, Victoria Police watched the clash develop but took no action until the woman physically attacked the man. Police then moved in to remove the woman from the scene, he said.
WARNING: These videos, taken on Flinders St yesterday, MAY OFFEND.
“The Jewish woman and her friend questioned why the police were detaining the woman and not the man, and they were told that he had right to freedom of speech,” Abramovich said in a statement.
A more senior police officer eventually told the protester to move on, which he did.
There were no arrests in the incident.
Victoria Police told the Daily Mail Australia they would not comment on the matter.
The Australian state of Victoria is coming out of what has been the most prolonged COVID-19 lockdown in the world, but last week the state parliament passed legislation giving the government of premier Daniel Andrews fresh pandemic powers, including issuing strict health orders. The government has also introduced vaccine mandates requiring some workers to be inoculated. The new legislation prompted thousands to hold a protest in Melbourne on Saturday.
Abramovich slammed anti-vaccination activists for using Holocaust references in their campaigns.
“No, Victoria is not becoming Nazi Germany and those opposing the vaccination mandate and proposed pandemic laws must stop with their ugly tactics,” he said. “There is no equivalence between public health measures, laws and vaccinations aimed at saving lives to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and millions of others were slaughtered and burned in the gas chambers.
“Nothing in Australia comes even close to the indescribable atrocities carried out on an industrial scale by the Nazis, and to suggest that we are on the road to Auschwitz is beyond words and divorced from reality,” Abramovich wrote.
Later on Sunday Victoria state lawmaker Bernie Finn of the Liberal Party posted a doctored image depicting Andrews as Nazi wartime leader Adolf Hitler. The image was later taken down.
I am angry.This is unacceptable.And it must stop.All of it.
In a follow-up statement Abramovich wrote that he was “fed up with public figures weaponizing the Holocaust to make a point and to beat down those they disagree with.”
“Bernie Finn should have a good look at himself and and do some soul searching. I shouldn’t have to say this but comparing Premier Daniel Andrews to the monstrous Hitler is indecent and repulsive,” Abramovich wrote. “By posting this ugly and hurtful image, Mr Finn betrays an ignorance of what really happened in Nazi Germany, and it’s time for him to apologize and to stop coarsening the debate.”