Two men accused of planning an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne have been arrested.
Police had vowed to crack down on the protest, planned for Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday, calling it a “blatant breach” of COVID-19 restrictions.
Officers seized phones and a computer and charged a 41-year-old Mooroolbark man with incitement after executing two search warrants on Thursday night.
A 41-year-old Chirnside Park man was expected to be charged on Friday.
The Facebook event called on people to protest in opposition to Melbourne’s six-week shutdown and claimed to be a broader movement of planned protests.
“Let’s blow this one up and fill up the streets to show these criminals we won’t give up our country and livelihoods without a fight,” the description of the event reads.
By late Thursday, it had more than 100 confirmed attendees and 400 expressions of interest.
If those people turn up on Sunday, Victoria Police said it wouldn’t hesitate to hand out $1652 on-the-spot fines or arrest them.
“This is a completely blatant breach of the chief health officer’s directions and puts Victorian lives at risk,” police said.
As Victoria’s number of coronavirus cases grows – 451 more on Friday – so too does the number of fines.
Police reported nearly 200 more people had been fined for breaching Victoria’s public health orders by Friday morning. Among them was a man who told police in Melbourne’s east that he was breaching the 8pm-5am curfew to feed his uncle’s horses.
In all, 43 people were fined for breaching curfew, while 51 were fined for not wearing a mask.