Hundreds of protesters have been arrested and many more fined as thousands of people flouted health orders to gather at anti-lockdown rallies across the country.
A 4000-strong crowd of mostly unmasked protesters letting off flares, yelling slogans and blasting music moved through Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday afternoon.
Victorian police arrested 218 people and issued 236 fines, each worth $5452, for health order breaches.
Six police officers were hospitalised and three people remain in custody for allegedly assaulting police.
Police used pepper spray on multiple people and in a statement said they were left with “no choice but to use all tactics available to them”.
Footage posted on Twitter also appeared to show an officer opening fire at close range with rubber bullets.
In NSW, police arrested 47 people and fined more than 260 in relation to protests across the state.
They issued 137 tickets after stopping around 38,000 cars approaching the city.
Police said a 32-year-old man who allegedly assaulted an officer was arrested and charges are expected to be laid. The constable was taken to hospital for head and neck injuries.
Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said police expected to identify more people through CCTV and social media footage.
More than 2000 people also gathered in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens to rally against the lockdown and vaccine measures.
“Wake up sheeple,” one sign read.
Queensland Police said no arrests had been made on Saturday afternoon.
SA Police also said no arrests were made at an anti-lockdown protest in Rundle Park in Adelaide.
— XYZ (@itsyourxyz) August 21, 2021