Why Australians are angry about anti-Vaxxer Novak Djokovic

The 2022 Australian Open taking place this month is meant to be Australia’s great re-opening party after nearly two years COVID-19 Contour Control very difficult country compared to North Korea.

But that reopening was predicated on one thing — COVID-19 vaccinations. Australia removed most of its border and social distancing restrictions after meeting vaccination standards. Australia is late to deploy vaccine, but it currently has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 92% of people over 16 years of age fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination is required to enter Australia.
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This probably explains the public anger when Novak Djokovic, the world does not. A male player and a vaccine skeptic, announced last week that he had been exempted from the travel to Melbourne to defend her Australian Open title.

But what happened next caused chaos, and even more anger. After the Serbian tennis star landed on January 5, he was denied entry to Australia and told to leave the country after a 10-hour standoff with officials at Melbourne Airport over legality. his law. Vaccination free. But, he stayed to challenge the law. On Monday, an Australian judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa, saying Djokovic did not have enough time to speak with his lawyers before a decision was made.

Despite Australia’s high vaccination rates, anger and anxiety about COVID-19 is running high as the nation faces an Omicron-driven boom in case numbers, hospital resources and testing facilities. stretched.

In two years, strict border and lockdown policies mostly kept COVID-19 is under control; Limit on international visitors prevented tens of thousands of Australians from returning from overseas during the pandemic, giving the country its nickname “Fortress Australia.” By some estimates, Melbourne – the host city of the Open – is already active six door locks a total of 262 days as of March 2020.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has discouraged state leaders from returning lock the door. Australians stranded abroad have begun returning home to see family members they have not been able to visit in years. Critics, including opposition Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese have decry government policy, calling it “let it rip.”

Responding to the outcry against Djokovic, Morrison said “nobody is above the rules,” and appeared to support the visa cancellation. The ball is now in the government court. Local media is reporting that Alex Hawke, minister in charge of immigration, To be is considering whether to use executive power to cancel Djokovic’s visa and deport him, despite the court’s decision.

READ MORE: After Australia banned citizens in India from returning home, many people asked: Who are the real Australians?

The story has also drawn attention to Australia’s tough border policies. Djokovic was detained at the Park Hotel in Melbourne after his initial visa was cancelled. Several refugees and asylum seekers have been detained in the same hotel for years — including a 24-year-old man who has been there since arriving in Iran at the age of 15. Australia asks anyone not to have a valid visa detained.

The controversy has spilled onto the streets of Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. Some Djokovic supporters with Serbian flags gathered outside the hotel where he was being held, while others took the opportunity to criticize Australia’s border policies, holding placards with slogans such as: “Releasing Refugees”. They called on Djokovic to campaign for others detained in the hotel. Activists express anger that Djokovic’s case was resolved too quickly, as many people languished in the bureaucracy for many years.

William West — AFP / Getty Images Activists hold banners during a protest outside a government detention center where Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic is staying in Melbourne on January 9, 2022, in support of those Refugees are detained at the center.

At least some wanted to see Djokovic play. Some critics say the government is using the tennis star as a scapegoat avoid criticism for its handling of the recent pandemic. Police are said to have deployed pepper spray After fans waving Serbian flags chased a car away from his lawyer’s building on Monday night, believe the player was inside.

Djokovic can still go to court next week, although if he does, he will be an exception to the very rules that are allowing the Australian Open to go on as usual: All fans and staff must present proof of vaccinations. attend. Why Australians are angry about anti-Vaxxer Novak Djokovic


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