News Coronavirus Victoria Police crackdown at anti-lockdown protest

Victoria Police crackdown at anti-lockdown protest

Remembrance Day will be done virtually in 2020. Photo: AAP
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Police have used pepper spray against anti-lockdown protesters gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne CBD.

About 200 to 300 protesters have gathered at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city.

An AAP photographer at the scene said police have used pepper spray amid scuffles with protesters and a few people have been arrested.

A man being arrested and filmed by TV crews said, “What are you holding me for?”

“What is the problem with you?”

The rally began at about 2pm on Friday and is the latest in a string of protests against Premier Daniel Andrews’ tough measures to control COVID-19 infections over the last few months.

Protesters face two separate fines if they attend an anti-lockdown rally at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius warned on Thursday that protesters could also fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.

Mr Cornelius said the RSL and the Shrine have made it clear that any protest on the site is disrespectful to the memory of people who have served their country.

He said the Shrine legislation covered behaviour and how people are dressed, adding that anyone who refuses to obey police could be fined around $300.

While lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25km from their homes and are not permitted to have visitors to their home unless for caregiving reasons.

They can also be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.

There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.

A website for the Friday protest tells participants: “Daniel Andrews must resign and lockdowns must end. Restore our freedoms now.”