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Canberra anti-vaccine protesters misuse official Australian flags in major demonstration

Thousands of demonstrators have swarmed the streets of Canberra to fly the Australian flag upside down.

The signal is meant to warn people of extreme danger to life and property but misusing the Australian flag breaches national protocols.

Pictures show people flying Australian flag upside down flooding the streets during the protest against Covid vaccine mandates on Saturday.

One man with the upside down flag embroidered on his hat can be seen starring down police.

COVID-19 MANDATES PROTEST
Camera IconAuthorities have urged people in Canberra to avoid major roads in Canberra as protesters move towards Parliament House. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia
COVID-19 MANDATES PROTEST
Camera IconProtesters have swamped lawns at the front of Parliament House after marching over nearby bridges. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

Numbers in the “Convoy to Canberra” have swelled with thousands of people descending on the capital after two weeks of smaller protests.

COVID-19 MANDATES PROTEST
Camera IconAFP Officers protect the entrance to Parliament House at a demonstration against Covid vaccine mandates at Parliament House, Canberra. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

In Australian national flag protocols, the government says Australians should never to fly the flag upside down.

“As one of Australia’s most important symbols, the flag should be used with respect and dignity,” the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says.

“Do not fly the flag upside down, even as a signal of distress.”

Protesters have also flown the Australian red ensign, which has historically been associated with Australian ships.

But recently it has been used at anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations.

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) last year condemned the misuse of both flags.

“The disrespect of these people apparently knows no bounds. They dishonour Australian service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and they dishonour our national flags,” RSL president Greg Melick said at the height of Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protests last year.

“Their actions to further their own selfish cause and ambitions are reprehensible, particularly at a time when all Australians should be coming together to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our veterans did fight for the right for Australians to freely express themselves, but they did not fight to enable these people to desecrate our memorials and national flags.”

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