News Coronavirus Anti-lockdown protests underway in major cities

Anti-lockdown protests underway in major cities

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters are being met by police in Melbourne and Brisbane. Photo: AAP
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Anti-lockdown rallies are underway in Melbourne and Brisbane as hundreds of police officers flood Sydney’s CBD to prevent another planned protest.

A crowd of mostly unmasked protesters moved through Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday afternoon.

Footage posted on social media showed people cheering and letting off flares as well as police pepper-spraying protesters.

In another clip posted to Twitter an officer in riot gear appears to fire rubber bullets into the crowd.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Saturday morning police were fining people for being more than 5km from home even before the protest began.

He said 700 officers were policing the protest.

“Please do not attend this demonstration, the risk of spread of the virus is significant,” he said.

“Every protester who we can identify and who we can apprehend will receive a $5500 fine. It’s just ridiculous to think that people would be so selfish and come and do this.”

Hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens to rally against the lockdown and vaccine measures.

“Wake up sheeple,” one sign read.

Meanwhile, more than 1500 officers have been sent into Sydney’s centre to prevent and respond to any unauthorised protesters.

Taxis and Ubers have been banned from taking passengers into the CBD until 3pm on Saturday.

Taxi, rideshare and passenger services who fail to comply with the notice risk a maximum penalty of $500,000, while individuals face fines of up to $100,000.

Footage taken near Victoria Park, just out of the CBD in Camperdown, and posted on Twitter by ABC journalist Josh Bavas show at least two men were arrested.