Violent anti-lockdown protests have erupted in Melbourne’s inner city today, resulting in 235 arrests and six police officers taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Police officers formed a “ring of steel” around Melbourne’s CBD, according to The Guardian, but were forced to swiftly change locations and head to Richmond and Hawthorn, where around 1,000 protesters had gathered.
Commander Mark Galliott said police were confronted by “angry and aggressive young males”, many of whom reportedly threw items like bottles and stones at officers.
— David Estcourt (@davidestcourt) September 18, 2021
“What we saw today was a group of protesters that came together not to protest freedoms, but simply to take on and have a fight with the police,” Galliott told reporters.
In total, around 235 people have been arrested, 193 of whom got done for breaching the chief health officer’s directions.
Meanwhile 10 police officers were injured, with six rushed to hospital and three still being treated.
The officers sustained injuries including torn muscles, a broken elbow, a broken nose and a broken finger.
Melbourne protest pic.twitter.com/VfgJ5KmV8m
— Martin Allan (@MartinfromOz) September 18, 2021
In NSW, a police operation targeting a planned anti-lockdown protest was proven to be a success, as “no real protest activity” ended up occurring in Sydney, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Well, not to the magnitude of previous protests.
32 people were arrested across NSW in connection with planned protests. NSW Police issued 265 penalty infringement notices and more than 60,000 vehicles were checked at 19 traffic points on major roads.
Police targeted small protests in regional NSW, including in Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Central Coast, Wollongong and on the South Coast.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said the operation was aimed at preventing protests.
“And if you have a look at today’s results I think you’ll find that our actions have been very professional, very well received by the public,” he said.
There was also a “large amount” of anti-lockdown protesters over in Brisbane, as seen in the following footage:
Most attention has been on the Melbourne anti-lockdown protests today but Brisbane has also seen a large turnout. pic.twitter.com/p29cxflS34
— Eden Gillespie (@edengillespie) September 18, 2021
Today, Melbourne recorded 535 new COVID cases and one death, while New South Wales recorded 1331 new cases.