Melbourne cafe devastated by SIX Covid lockdowns raises money for cops injured in protests – but the kind gesture is hijacked by anti-vaxxer trolls
- Battle cafe in Melbourne has raised more than $600 for Blue Ribbon Foundation
- Owner started fundraiser to pledge his support for police after recent protests
- Café flooded with online abuse and threats from anti-lockdown protesters
- Ben Williamson vowed to continue raising funds despite ‘unwanted nonsense’
A cafe has been inundated with online threats from despicable anti-vax trolls over a kind-hearted gesture to raise money for the police.
Ben Williamson, owner of the Battle cafe in eastern Melbourne, decided to organize a fundraiser for Victoria Police after 10 officers were injured in an anti-lockdown protest on September 18.
One dollar from every coffee sold has been donated to the Blue Ribbon Foundation in thanks to police who have faced major difficulties protecting Victorians during six lockdowns over the past 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Customers have backed the $600 fundraising initiative, which has been overshadowed by online threats, abuse and negative reviews.
Battle cafe owner Ben Williamson (pictured right) has summoned online trolls targeting his company
Some of the online threats have been so serious that police have been called to patrol the popular cafe in Blackburn North.
“We have received some threats, screenshots from protest groups threatening to enter the cafe with bricks or a Molotov,” Mr Williamson said. nine.com.au.
“Even to think that people might say these things about my company, whether they continue or not, it was enough to scare us a little.”
He understands the frustrations of anti-lockdown protesters, but said they are going in the wrong direction.
“I can understand and really empathize with their frustrations, but if I direct that and turn it into violence, I don’t think it’s a reflection of all of society,” he said.
The staff is shocked by the online threats and abuse.
“There were some pretty devastating things that we had seen and it was just our way of supporting the team in blue,” Mr Williamson told the ABC.
Police patrol the cafe after recent online threats and abuse
The cafe owner organized a fundraiser after 10 police officers were injured in the September 18 anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured)
The online abuse won’t stop Williamson from continuing to raise money on Wednesday, which coincides with Blue Ribbon Day.
He has been “absolutely overwhelmed” by the community spirit in recent days.
“The point of all this is that violence is not the answer,” he wrote on Tuesday.
“I’m not one to throw my weight around and whether it’s a zodiac sign, I’ll always put myself in someone else’s shoes, with that understanding of agency aside – as a small business, we never needed this unwanted nonsense aimed at us.” given what we’ve all been through in the past two years.’
He was moved by a heartwarming phone call from an elderly gentleman from the Victoria area who apologized for not being able to personally promise his support.
“We will once again be in favor of raising money and awareness for the lives lost or damaged by the police, as well as what this charity is doing for our local hospitals and community – something we all appreciate and I know.” sure forgot that!’ Mr Williamson added.
Ben Williamson (pictured) has vowed to continue raising funds and awareness for the police