More than 400 people were arrested at the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Tuesday, which is more than early estimates had the total number of people showing up. Turns out those quotes about Victoria Police “not mucking around” and arresting everybody in sight were not wrong one bit.
Victoria Police arrested 404 people at the protest yesterday and issued nearly as many fines (395), over infringements like not wearing a mask, breaching public gathering directions, travelling more than 25km from their home, assaulting police, and failing to state their name and address.
During the protest, a female officer suffered a suspected broken arm, and was taken to hospital shortly afterwards.
“Victoria Police was disappointed to arrest a large number of protestors who again showed disregard for the safety of the broader community and the directions of the Chief Health Officer (CHO),” police said.
“Victoria Police will not hesitate to fine those who clearly and blatantly breach the Chief Health Officer directions.”
Protest arrests.. lost count pic.twitter.com/7JT1o6UEff
— Laura Turner (@LauraTurner_9) November 3, 2020
Yesterday, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters descended on Victoria’s state parliament, despite Melbourne’s lockdowns being lifted last week.
Apparently, they’re now protesting to have Premier Dan Andrews removed from office, warning that they “won’t forget” the more than 100 days of lockdown. (Uh, nobody else will either, I’m sure.)
“Daniel Andrews presided over the worst response to the pandemic of any state leader by an extraordinary margin,” an encrypted message sent to protesters ahead of time reportedly read.
“We will not forget. Of all the Australian states and territories, Victoria endured the harshest and longest lockdowns.”
People carried signs like ‘Masks Don’t Work’ and ‘Corona Hoax 1984’.
Tensions have boiled over at an anti-lockdown rally at Parliament House in Melbourne. Dozens arrested. Capsicum spray used. Protesters chanted “human rights matter” and “freedom” before police moved in to remove them one by one. pic.twitter.com/CZEZkc5lt6
— Jack Paynter (@jackpayn) November 3, 2020
It’s true – Victoria did suffer through a ball-achingly long lockdown, thanks to the hotel quarantine fuck-up that saw the state hit with a second coronavirus wave. However, the hyper-strict Stage 4 lockdowns also put the state in place to score five days of no new cases in a row. Compare that to Europe, where everyone’s going back into lockdown, and Victoria’s looking pretty fucken’ peachy.
Liberal Democrat Victorian MP David Limbrick, who attended yesterday’s protest, slammed Victoria Police’s response.
“People herded people together, forcing them to mingle at close proximity for four hours or more, and then essentially charged them for failing to socially distance,” he claimed.
“COVID escaped hotel quarantine because of a lack of planning. This was almost worse, because they created a high risk situation despite it being planned carefully.”
It should be noted that most protesters were not wearing masks.