Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters were arrested in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday, and seven officers were hospitalized as a result of the clashes, as the country experienced its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases ever.
In Melbourne, mounted police used pepper spray to disperse crowds of more than 4,000 people rushing toward police lines, while in Sydney, a large contingent of riot police prevented smaller groups of protesters from congregating.
While citizens of Sri-Lanka are urging the government to lockdown, the Aussie’s are protesting for the lockdown to be taken off. So far, Sri Lanka has given out at least the first dose of 17,587,688 doses of COVID vaccine. If each person requires two doses, that would be enough to vaccinate 40.3 percent of the country’s population. An average of 282,592 doses per day during the last week was reported. At this rate, administering enough doses for another 10% of the population will take another 16 days. Looking at the Australian vaccine roll out they have given out at least 16,815,098 doses of COVID vaccine. Assuming that each person requires two doses, that would be enough to vaccinate 33.1 percent of the country’s population. The vaccine has been administered about 240,375 doses per day on average during the last week reported. It will take another 22 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population at that rate.
A simple comparison of the statistics will show that Sri Lanka is way ahead of Australia in the vaccine rollout, and yet, the government receives such negative sentiment. Sri Lanka is in the top 20 vaccinated countries in the world, and Australia is far behind. When Australia went into lockdown, it meant that people could only travel within a 5km radius of their homes, whereas in Sri Lanka, you can travel for all essential duties within a province. When given the opportunity, Sri Lankan citizens do heed the restrictions responsibly.
President Gotabaya was adamant that no riot police would be used when the teachers’ union went on strike and held rallies across Sri Lanka. The situation in Australia was completely different, with people being hit with pepper spray and batons and 218 people were arrested in the state capital of Melbourne, according to Victoria state police. For assaulting police, they issued 236 fines and detained three people. For violating public health orders, the arrested people face fines of A$5,452 ($3,900) each.
If that situation was in Sri Lanka, it would have been very different. When Sri Lanka imposed a night curfew, Facebook was flooded with memes asking if the virus was spreading at night or if the curfew was only for bats. However, everything changed when Australia announced that they would also impose a night curfew. When New Zealand went into lockdown and the military was deployed to prevent the virus from spreading, our Sri Lankans praised Jacinda Arden, while our troops, our heroes, spent so much time trying to save your lives and get you vaccinated, our Sri Lankans began to complain that our system was becoming militarized.
Change your perspective then we would be able to stand strong as one country and stay united.