Victoria Police have defended their actions towards protesters at the International Mining and Resources Conference today after one protester was hospitalised and video emerged of officers hitting other protesters with batons to move them on.

Speaking to reporters, Victoria Police acting commander Tim Tully said that police had been “more than justified” in their response, having shown “a hell of a lot of discretion, a hell of a lot of tolerance.”

The ABC is reporting that around 250 people showed up at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre to protest the conference, which will be taking place there this week.

Footage uploaded to Twitter showed mounted police using horses to attempt to break up groups of protesters who blockaded the entrance to the conference, with a 23-year-old woman taken to hospital with a leg injury after allegedly being struck by a police horse.

Other footage appeared to show a police officer hitting a woman in the back with a baton while she was facing away from the officer with her hands raised.

Activist legal observer group Melbourne Activist Legal Support alleged that officers had been using batons and capsicum foam to force protesters to move, not in response to any violence on the part of the protesters.

In a press conference, Tully said that pepper spray was used twice in the course of arrests made throughout the day. According to Tully, 50 arrests were made, the bulk of them for “offences relate to obstruction of the footpath or intentionally obstructing an emergency services worker.” Two arrests were made for alleged animal cruelty offences, with police accusing two protesters of having slapped police horses.

Protests are expected to continue throughout the week.

Image: AAP / James Ross