July 13, 2020

The Queens County Citizen

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Australia’s Coronavirus Lockdown Protests Driven By Fb Conspiracy Theorists

Australia's Coronavirus Lockdown Protests Driven By Facebook Conspiracy Theorists

Numerous viewing experienced the exact same question: Why Gates? Why did a protest versus lockdowns entail so lots of unrelated — and imported — conspiracy theories?

1 speaker, Fanos Panayides, is the founder of an really lively Facebook group referred to as “99% unite Key Group ‘it’s us or them'” that has speedily become just one of the biggest hubs of resistance towards Australia’s coronavirus reaction.

It is populated by a vibrant blend of coronavirus deniers, anti-vaxxers, 5G truthers, sovereign citizens, QAnon believers and other fringe conspiracy theorists. And all of their beliefs have cross-pollinated and converged to produce a virulent — if not totally coherent — umbrella motion in opposition to coronavirus lockdown steps.

The anti-lockdown motion remains modest in Australia but, according to a person poll, 1 in 10 individuals believe social distancing steps should be eradicated promptly. The constraints are by now being little by little eased across the country, subsequent a mostly prosperous response to the coronavirus, with less than 100 fatalities and a main slowing of new conditions.

But in Panayides’s team, that does not matter. Given that it was started out on April 8, the group has developed to additional than 37,000 associates who have designed extra than 900,000 posts, comments and reactions, according to social media analytics web-site Crowdtangle.

Sunday’s protest originated with a fringe, far-right YouTuber, but the driving power was Panayides’ group. Associates of the group also organised at least two other anti-lockdown protests held in the earlier week.

Prior to last thirty day period, Panayides — who did not react to requests for an job interview with BuzzFeed News by phone, Fb Messenger or through associates — was not a widely regarded activist.

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