The team at Lifeline ACT have shared their upset and disappointment after being forced to close their fundraising Bookfair on Saturday amid safety concerns due anti-vaccine mandate protests.
The annual event was being held out at EPIC this weekend, the same location where protestors have been camping during their time in Canberra.
The Bookfair began on Friday with reports of some visitors being harassed by demonstrators on the first day.
However, by Friday night, the situation at EPIC had deteriorated.
Lifeline ACT CEO Carrie-Ann Leeson said ensuring the safety of volunteers and visitors meant the difficult decision to close the doors had to be made.
“After the Bookfair shut yesterday, there was a lot of congestion, they had another 15,000 (protestors) descend on the groups to add to the numbers already there camping and it became a little bit untenable.”
“Overnight, fences had been pushed over and people had moved into the location that was safely declared for the Bookfair.”
It remains unclear whether or not the Bookfair will be able to open its doors again on Sunday but organisers are hoping to provide an update on the situation on Saturday Night.
This weekend’s Bookfair is the first for Lifeline ACT in two years as the pandemic had forced the abandonment of the major fundraising event.
“The sentiment here is that they’re gutted, this is something that’s been two years in the making, it’s our 50th birthday, we needed to make out comeback.”
“We did everything possible to make this happen throughout the week and to get it up and running so there’s a lot of puffy-eyed volunteers who’ve come in and left very disappointed and broken hearted.”
Carrie-Ann Leeson caught up with Cam & Kristen following the announcement, listen to the chat below: