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Neighbours star Damien Richardson accuses Victoria police of creating 'paranoia'

Neighbours star Damien Richardson has slammed the Victorian government for creating a state of paranoia after barring unvaccinated residents from bars and restaurants. 

The 52-year-old actor, who played Gary Canning on the hit soap, vented his anger while attending a sit-in protest along Acland street's dining precinct in St Kilda, Melbourne, on Saturday. 

He joined protesters who were demonstrating against 'vaccine segregation' after stay-at-home orders were only lifted for fully-vaccinated residents at 11.59pm on Thursday. 

His appearance came just weeks after he joined a mass anti-lockdown demonstration at the Shrine of Remembrance on September 22. 

Neighbours star Damien Richardson has blamed Victoria for creating a state of 'paranoia' while attending a sit-in anti-vaccination rally on the weekend

Richardson played Gary Canning from 2014 to 2020 on the hit Australian TV soap Neighbours (picture above with ex-girlfriend, Fifi Box)

Only double-jabbed residents are allowed to visit bars, restaurants or beauty salons while unvaccinated residents have been warned by premier Daniel Andrews they will not be granted the same freedoms until 'well into 2022'.

A maskless Richardson commentated on the sit-in demonstration at St Kilda for True Arrow - a YouTube channel with strong anti-lockdown sentiment.

He was filmed launching into a verbal tirade condemning the different set of rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

'We're all becoming paranoid to walk down the street because this is what we'll be met with,' he shouted, pointing at a nearby group of police officers.

'You are creating the circumstances where your children will also be imprisoned in the system that you're enforcing.' 

Richardson then compared the demonstrators to the diners who were eating in the cafes and restaurants on the other side of the street.

'This is the definition of being locked out,' he said to the camera.

'We have the great unwashed and over on this side we have people who, you know, are dining in relative luxury.' 

Richardson has continued to be a vocal opponent of lockdown on social media.

He joined writer and producer Michael Gray Griffith to co-host a live-streamed interview with anti-lockdown campaigner Monica Smit.

Ms Smit was arrested after she was pulled over by police in her car on August 31. She was charged over online incitement after allegedly encouraging residents to break public health orders.

Richardson (right) has continued to be a vocal opponent of lockdown on social media. He joined writer and producer Michael Gray Griffith (left) to co-host a live-streamed interview with anti-lockdown campaigner Monica Smit (bottom).

Former Neighbours actor Damien Richardson is pictured negotiating on behalf of the demonstrators with police

Richardson accused police of using heavy-handed tactics to suppress the anti-lockdown movement.

'The criticism I've heard from protesters is that there is no leadership,' he said.

'I've said to people that's because they keep arresting the leadership and I think that's a deliberate tactic.' 

Richardson took centre stage at the anti-lockdown demonstration at The Shrine of Remembrance in September.

He addressed a crowd of jeering demonstrators and negotiated an exit strategy with Victoria Police on behalf of hundreds of protesters. 

The ex-boyfriend of TV and radio presenter Fifi Box, 52, was seen crying out to police that the 400 people who were bizarrely camping out at the sacred site wanted to leave with 'dignity'.  

Video showed the well-known actor - who featured on Neighbours from 2014 to 2020 - rambling at police officers about debts. 

Richardson said: 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you end up so far in debt that you don't know what to do, so what have I got to lose? Eventually what have I got to lose? 

'These people will leave, but we want to leave with dignity the way we came, we want to leave down the centre here the way we came.'

Former Neighbours actor Damien Richardson was caught up in the drama of the wild anti-lockdown protest at The Shrine of Remembrance

The police officer responded by suggesting there was only one 'safe' way to exit the park.

'I've made a safe path here on the right,' the officer insisted. 'The reason why I can't take you through the centre is we've got too much infrastructure set up.'

Richardson offered to 'walk past the infrastructure' insisting 'that's what these guys want'.

Visibly frustrated with the negotiation, he told the officer: 'So now I'm going to go back there and say that to them and they'll feel that that is a weakening in position.' 

A separate clip then showed Richardson with a megaphone relaying police demands to protesters.

'I've just spoken to superintendent Brett Hinton… he is saying he will grant us free passage as long as we don't cause any disturbance... and he asked us to separate into small groups,' he says to the rowdy crowd who erupted with furious jeers.

'I told them that, that would be your response and that there would be no way we would be separating into small groups,' he added to thunderous applause of the group. 

But the protesters' occupation of the site didn't end peacefully. 

Richardson is pictured in the centre of the group before police moved in with tear gas and rubber bullets

Richardson (pictured) joined construction workers demonstrated at Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance to protest mandatory Covid vaccinations on job sites

Some demonstrators threw rocks, golf balls, batteries and bottles at police from the shrine - hoping police would not touch them due to the site's symbolism.

But riot squad cops cleared out the protesters by firing rubber bullets and throwing stinger grenades. 

They left a trail of destruction behind them - leaving piles of rubbish and urinating on the memorial.  

Deputy Police Commissioner Ross Guenther said: 'It was completely disrespectful that the crowd ended up at the shrine, which is such hallowed ground in this great city.'

Vietnam Veterans Association Victorian state president Bob Elworthy said the 'unedifying' protest that unfolded was 'one of the most un-Australian things' he'd ever seen.

'I just cant believe these people thought it was right to go to a place like the shrine and carry on that,' he told 3AW.

'I wonder if they would go to their own grandparent's grave and drink beer on it.

'This mob of idiots have no moral fiber at all. If they're going to do that on the shrine, goodness knows where else they're going to do it.' 

The 52-year-old soap star was sporting a beard, baseball cap and a Tommy Hilfiger jacket

The Victorian actor (pictured among the crowd) has had a largely successful on-screen career recently staring in the Australia murder mystery series Jack Irish alongside Hollywood A-lister Guy Pearce

Richardson (pictured) was filmed trying to negotiate the crowd's exit from the protest

As for Richardson, the Victorian actor has had a largely successful on-screen career recently staring in the Australia murder mystery series Jack Irish alongside Hollywood A-lister Guy Pearce.

Daily Mail Australia have contacted his agent for further comment on why he chose to protest alongside the construction workers.

His representative insisted she didn't want anything to do with the matter, and refused to comment.

Pictured: Protesters at the shrine. 'I just cant believe these people thought it was right to go to a place like the shrine and carry on that,' Vietnam Veterans Association Victorian state president Bob Elworthy said

Protesters descended on Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance on Wednesday, sparking nationwide  anger