Skip to main content

Anti-vaccine protesters used bizarre symbols during a huge protest in Canberra. Here’s what they mean.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Canberra to wave the Australian flag upside down.

The signal is intended to warn people of extreme danger to life and property, but the misuse of the Australian flag violates national protocols.

Footage shows people with the Australian flag upside down flooding the streets during the protest against Covid vaccine mandates on Saturday.

A man with the upside-down flag embroidered on his hat can be seen staring at the police.

The number of people in the ‘convoy to Canberra’ has increased with thousands descending on the capital after two weeks of small protests.

In the Australian National Flag Protocols, the government says Australians should never fly the flag upside down.

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

“Do not wave the flag upside down, even as a sign of distress.”

The protesters also displayed the Australian red flag, which has always been associated with Australian ships.

But recently it has been used in anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protests.

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

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

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

“Our veterans fought for the right of Australians to speak freely, but they did not fight to allow these people to desecrate our memorials and our national flags.”