Six police officers have been hospitalised and more than 200 people were arrested during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne’s CBD today.
According to Victoria Police, more than 4000 people gathered to protest the VIC lockdown extension – breaching public health orders in the process.
The protest reportedly started from Parliament House and eventually moved into the CBD towards Flinders Street Station. At Flinders St station, protesters clashed with police in what police have called a “hostile” and “aggressive” manner.
It was the first time during lockdown protests that police were forced to use non-lethal options like pepper ball rounds (a pepper-spray pellet shot from a gun) and OC foam canisters (pepper-spray foam).
“While there were some peaceful protestors in attendance, the majority of those who attended came with violence in mind,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“The behaviour seen by police was so hostile and aggressive that they were left with no choice but to use all tactics available to them.”
Seven police officers were injured as a result, including two with suspected broken noses, one with a broken thumb and others with concussions.
Footage from the illegal events shows protesters shouting “freedom” and chanting “you work for us” to police.
— Rachael Dexter (@rachael_dexter) August 21, 2021
— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) August 21, 2021
There were 218 arrests at today’s anti-lockdown protest, police also issued 236 fines and have three people in custody for assaulting police. One person was arrested for breaching their bail conditions.
Every one of those 218 protesters will be fine $5452 for breaching public health orders.
Similar protests also erupted in Sydney today, with NSW Police shutting down all public transport and roads into the CBD until 3pm. However, it appears it did not reach the same numbers as Melbourne.
Police are still investigating offences committed at today’s protests including the assault of numerous police officers and the use of flares.