Police use pepper spray on protesters during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia. Photo Credits: AP
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters clashed with Australia Police in Melbourne and Sydney.
This came after Sydney’s lockdown is being extended and it’s getting even stricter. There will be a curfew in virus hotspots, masks must be worn outdoors, and the police have even tougher powers to enforce stay-at-home orders.
Mounted police used pepper spray in Melbourne to break up crowds surging toward police lines, while smaller groups of protesters were prevented from congregating in Sydney by a large contingent of riot police.
There was no information immediately available on arrests. Police in Victoria had vowed to hand out fines of A$5,000 ($3,600) to any protestor they could identify taking part.
“We are in a very serious situation here in New South Wales,” state Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. “There is no time now to be selfish, it’s time to think of the broader community and your families.”
Victoria state police informed that they arrested 218 people in the state capital Melbourne, 236 fine have been issued and they kept three people in custody for assaulting police. The arrested people face fines of A$5,452 ($3,900) each for breaching public health orders.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton had earlier warned people to stay away from the protest, adding it was “just ridiculous to think that people would be so selfish and come and do this.”
However, Australia’s Covid-19 numbers are still relatively low compared to other developed countries, with just over 43,000 cases and 978 deaths.