Fact Checking Claims That Melbourne Protesters Were ‘Shot in the Back’

Police used rubber bullets on demonstrators in Australia.

A viral tweet claims to show anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne, Australia, being “shot in the back as they run away from [the police].”

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Melbourne—the capital of the Australian state of Victoria—several days this week to protest vaccine mandates and lockdown measures. In some instances, the protests turned violent and participants clashed with the police. To disperse the crowds, Victoria Police utilized rubber bullets, among other tools.

“I can confirm that Victoria Police were definitely not using live ammunition,” Alex Day, a representative for the Victoria Police, told The Dispatch Fact Check. Day shared a statement from the police department, which said that the officers “were forced to use crowd control equipment including pepper balls, foam baton rounds, smoke round and stinger grenades which deploy rubber pellets.” These tactics have been criticized as police brutality in some corners. 

The Twitter user who shared the video noted in the replies that the police were using rubber bullets, though the replies got significantly less engagement than the original tweet.

The tweet is correct that the protesters were being shot as they ran away from police, but, importantly, they were being shot with rubber bullets, not live ammunition. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.