Violent clashes as lockdown protesters pushed into the suburbs

·3-min read

Hundreds of people have gathered to protest lockdowns in Melbourne despite a massive police presence in the city.

Police created a ring of steel to contain the planned protest that was slated for Melbourne's CBD on Saturday.

Checkpoints and heavy police presence successfully pushed the rally out of the CBD, with protestors moving the location to Richmond.

The protest was moved to Richmond. Source: 9News
The protest was moved to Richmond. Source: 9News

Victoria Police have "all contingencies" on hand to deal with the protest that was expected to turn violent, the state's Health Minister Martin Foley said.

Extra police were stationed in the city to fine and arrest people trying to take part in the rallies, with public transport to the CBD stopped between 8:00am and 2:00pm.

Videos posted online show a wall of police facing off with protesters and using pepper spray on angry attendees who could be seen screaming at officers. 

Projectiles were also thrown at police, with one officer filmed being hit in the face from close range. 

Arrests were also filmed as scuffles broke out.

In one video shared to Twitter, protestors are seen yelling at police as well as throwing items at them, chanting “no more lockdown”.

Other chants heard include “sack Dan Andrews” and “we will not comply."

In another, protestors are seen carrying umbrellas and forcibly break through a line of officers to violently stampede onto the street, clashing with police as capsicum foam is deployed to try and stop them. 

Many protestors are carrying signs with anti-police and freedom-related messages, as well as the Australian flag. 

In another Tweet from the protest, a police car is seen with a broken side mirror. 

In some clips shared on social media, violent altercations between protestors and police were filmed with some people being tackled to the ground.

Public transport to CBD shutdown

Victoria's Department of Transport said only essential workers or people attending vaccination appointments were allowed into the city.

Police have created roadblocks around central Melbourne to stop planned anti-lockdown protests. Source: 9News
Police have created roadblocks around central Melbourne to stop planned anti-lockdown protests. Source: 9News

Police requested the partial public transport shutdown after 4000 people attended a violent anti-lockdown protest on August 21.

More than 2000 police officers have been deployed to shut down the anti-lockdown protest, in addition to road checkpoints, barricades and roving patrols.

Protestors risked a $5,500 fine if they attended the rally. for breaching public health orders.

Victoria recorded 535 Covid-19 cases

Victoria recorded 535 new local cases on Saturday – the highest record during its latest Delta outbreak.

Of the 535 local cases, only 62 have been linked to known cases and outbreaks.

The protests come as restrictions relaxed for Melbourne residents on Saturday after reaching 70 per cent first dose coverage across Victoria's eligible population.

Among the changes, people will be able to meet one person from another household for a walk or picnic, outdoor exercise time is doubled and the travel limit expanded to 10km.

with AAP

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