Video has emerged of police officers clashing with beachgoers in a dramatic arrest of a woman at a Melbourne beach as hordes of residents headed outdoors to enjoy the good weather over the weekend.
Officers approached a group of people at Altona Beach, in the city’s southwest, on Saturday evening after noticing they weren’t wearing masks, Victoria Police said.
The group became aggressive towards police and when a female member of the group refused to give her details, she was arrested, a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement.
Footage of the incident, which has since spread across social media, shows two officers struggling to place the woman in handcuffs as she lay on her back on the sand.
Members of the group can be heard unleashing expletive-laden tirades, as other officers demand they move back.
“She’s taken her kids for a swim and you f***ing arrest her for what?” one person says.
“You’re f***ing pussies,” a man can be heard shouting.
One of the group then alleges an officer pushed a pregnant woman in the group as they try to control the volatile situation.
One man can be seen trying to help the woman on the ground, but is pushed back by officers.
Victoria Police confirmed the arrested woman was further than five kilometres from her home and was issued with three infringement notices.
Other members of the group also received fines while police will continue investigations into activities to determine whether others had breached current coronavirus restrictions.
The spokesperson vowed police would take action against those not complying.
“Victoria Police will continue to proactively patrol public spaces and will not hesitate to fine those who clearly and blatantly breach the directions of the Chief Health Officer,” they said.
Victoria Police ramped up patrols across Melbourne beaches, notably St Kilda, after large crowds at the famous beach on Friday as thousands flocked to the coast to enjoy the warm weather.
"It's sunny, yes, and people love to go to the beach when it's sunny but there's a global pandemic on," Mr Andrews reiterated, stressing the importance of adhering to current restrictions including compulsory mask wearing in public.
"Let's not any of us do anything to jeopardise where we find ourselves. It is delicately poised.
"Spending time at the beach without a mask, without social distancing now will just mean that you won't get to go to the beach for all of summer. It just doesn't make any sense," he said on Saturday.
City of Port Phillip chief executive Peter Smith said beaches in its council area, including St Kilda, could be closed if people failed to adhere to restrictions.
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