Protesters have defied COVID-19 restrictions and stage a May Day parade in cars and on bikes. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Health

May Day rally in Sydney despite COVID-19

2020-05-02 15:36:09

More than 200 people have driven cars and ridden bicycles in Sydney to mark May Day and rally for workers’ rights despite COVID-19 restrictions banning non-essential travel outside of the home. 

Greens MP David Shoebridge attended the International Workers’ Day rally alongside retired Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, members of the Maritime Union of Australia and refugee advocacy groups. 

Mr Shoebridge said social distancing measures were observed and the right to protest was a reasonable excuse to be outside.

“When it comes to ensuring that we mark May Day – and ensuring that we respect the right to protest – that clearly falls within the concept of a reasonable excuse,” Mr Shoebridge told reporters on Friday.

The state politician said while the NSW government provided 13 “reasonable excuses” to leave home the list wasn’t exclusive. 

AAP understands authorities who were present throughout the protest had earlier decided not to shut the rally down. 

The NSW Health website states essential reasons for leaving home are for work, education, shopping for food or medical care supplies and exercise. 

The convoy honked their horns and yelled through speakers as they moved from Macquarie Street in The Domain past Liberal Party offices and the Fair Work Commission in Woolloomooloo. 

Signs on cars included “The Virus Doesn’t Check Visa Status – Solidarity with Refugee Protesters”, and “No To Capitalism, No Job Cuts.”

The group’s demands on the Morrison government include extending the JobKeeper scheme to casual workers and migrants as well as nationalising services such as airlines. 

Music teacher Marie-Louise was protesting against job cuts she was seeing before COVID-19 had taken hold of the economy. 

“There were just job cuts all over the place, even before COVID-19, and I think the government should be creating green jobs,” Marie-Louise told AAP.