Anti-lockdown protesters shut down Melbourne’s Spring St on Sunday to spread a incoherent mix of cooked conspiracy theories, including anti-vaccination nonsense, 5G-truther bullshit, and the idea the coronavirus pandemic is all a hoax.

On top of all this, their rallying cry was: “arrest Bill gates“.

It’s not clear how exactly the protesters reckon Gates is connected to the pandemic, but it probably has something to do with his funding of vaccination programs. Vaccinations do not cause autism, cancer or COVID-19, and arresting Bill Gates will not stop the pandemic.

Victoria Police arrested 10 people outside state parliament, including two of the demo’s organisers, as they were in breach of the state’s lockdown restrictions which ban large gatherings. Some also received $1,600 fines.

“While Victoria Police respects the public’s right to protest, the health and safety of every Victorian needs to be our number one priority at this time,” the force said in a statement.

“Victoria Police made it very clear that if a planned protest was to proceed today, it would be in direct contravention of the Chief Health Officer’s current directives.”

During the rally, several scuffles broke out between police and protesters.

One of the main speakers was also seen being dragged by police into a van with blood on his head.

Footage of these scuffles is already doing the rounds among conspiracy circles on social media, which they say proves how draconian the lockdowns are.

(AAP / Scott Barbour)

Meanwhile, Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos called the protesters out on their shit.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that people would be protesting or seeking to suggest we don’t have a pandemic,” she said.

Mikakos added that people in places feeling the brunt of the pandemic, including the US and the UK, knew how dangerous the virus really is.

“Those people know that this pandemic is not fake news,” she said.

“We’ve had 18 Victorians lose their lives as a result of COVID-19. I know that there are many people who are feeling very sad today because they don’t have their mothers or their grandmothers with them whose lives were lost as a result of this virus.

“That’s incredibly disappointing that some individuals do not understand that these restrictions have been put in place to keep them safe, to keep their families safe and the whole of Victoria safe.”

(AAP / Scott Barbour)

It was an interesting choice to stage a protest at a time when lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased in every state and territory.

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government’s three-step roadmap to lifting the lockdown. Meanwhile, NSW and Victoria are also preparing to allow very small gatherings over the next week.

Of course, these eased restrictions come with a responsibility. If people bend the rules and the virus starts to spread at an increased rate, we’ll go back to stricter lockdowns.

If you’re really that fed up about the lockdowns, the solution is simple: stay the fuck at home and wait it out. Pulling stunts like this will just make things so much worse.

(AAP / Scott Barbour)

Image: AAP / Scott Barbour