A violent clash between anti-lockdown demonstrators and police has culminated in more than 70 arrests as hundreds stormed Melbourne’s CBD chanting ‘freedom’ in protest of Dan Andrews’ lockdown measures.
Up to 250 residents amassed at Queen Victoria Market on Sunday for a second day of riots as tensions escalate over the city’s tough stage four restrictions, which prohibit Melburnians from leaving home for non-essential reasons.
Protesters chanting ‘Freedom’ and ‘Power to the people’ were outnumbered by officers, with some demonstrators throwing fruit at police after raiding market stalls.
Victoria Police arrested 74 people and issued at least 176 infringement notices for breaching the Chief Health Officer directions.
A 44-year-old Burwood East man, believed to be a primary agitator for these protests, remains in police custody and is expected to be charged with incitement. His home will be subject to a search warrant.
Another person was arrested for assault police.
Police said many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers, however no members of the force were injured.
‘It was extremely disappointing to see people not just protesting, but putting the lives of other Victorians at risk despite all the warnings,’ a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
‘Our investigations into this protest will continue, and we expect to issue further fines once the identity of individuals has been confirmed.’
Victoria police warned that anyone caught breaching COVID-19 directives will be punished.