Anti-vaccine protesters have forced the cancellation of a book fair in Canberra raising money for mental health.
Thousands of demonstrators are camping at the Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) without authorisation.
Last night, protesters tore down fences being used to set aside parking for the event.
“Overnight, a significant influx of people to EPIC saw fences moved and campers established in non-camping areas,” an ACT Police spokesperson told 9News.com.au.
“This unauthorised camping has taken up all service and parking areas allocated to the Lifeline Book Fair.”
Today Lifeline Canberra announced their fundraising event would be cancelled.
“Lifeline Canberra has made the tough decision to close the doors to the bookfair today,” the group said in a statement.
“The situation at EPIC has deteriorated overnight and safety is our number one priority.”
The campers have been ordered to move on from Exhibition Park on Sunday to prepare the venue for the Royal Canberra Show.
“People who remain in EPIC after this time may be considered trespassing,” ACT Police said in a statement yesterday.
“ACT Policing urges those staying at EPIC to respect the management of the venue and arrange to leave the facility peacefully by Sunday.”
Police are warning locals to avoid roads near EPIC as well as Northbourne Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue because of traffic caused by protesters.
Lifeline is a non-profit organisation providing telephone crisis support for people with mental health issues.
The book fair is one of the biggest fundraising events for the Canberra branch of the national organisation.
Lifeline is considering the possibility of the book fair opening tomorrow.
The vast majority of protesters are not actually from Canberra — the ACT is the most vaccinated jurisdiction in Australia, with more than 99 per cent of the population aged over 16 having had a second dose.