News State Victoria News Arrests at Melbourne anti-lockdown protest

Arrests at Melbourne anti-lockdown protest

Peaceful anti-lockdown protesters have been pounced on by police in Melbourne as Victoria remains subject to strict COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: AAP
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Up to ten people have been detained by police and others have been told to move on during a peaceful COVID-19 anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne.

Some walkers on the shores of the city’s Yarra River on Saturday stopped and displayed signs, including “I am just exercising my human rights”.

Three people, some in handcuffs, were led away by police, while officers directed others to move on.

There were no groups gathered and the number of people out walking – which is permitted for exercise – were outweighed by a heavy police presence.

Social media organisers of the so-called Freedom Walk suggested there might be similar actions in other locations.

Promotion of the main Melbourne event was taken down earlier in the week by Facebook.

An anti-lockdown rally was held at the Shrine of Remembrance last weekend resulting in 17 arrests and more than 160 fines being issued for breaching health directions.

Premier Daniel Andrews pleaded with people not to take part in further protests.

“All you’re potentially doing is spreading the virus,” he said on Friday.

Police arrested 43-year-old Tony Pecora on Thursday who is an alleged key organiser of anti-lockdown agitation.

When interviewed Mr Pecora allegedly told officers he believes coronavirus case numbers have been highly exaggerated, and that COVID-19 is genetically engineered by world banks to kill weak humans.

He quoted Midnight Oil, telling police if someone contracted coronavirus at one of his events “it would be better to die on your feet than live on your knees”.

He faced court on Friday accused of inciting others to protest and was given bail.

Under his bail conditions he cannot use social media or contact co-organisers.

The Melbourne Freedom Walk asks citizens to “come together, get healthy and talk about getting our freedoms back”.

Victoria on Saturday reported a further six COVID-19 deaths and 37 new cases, which is lowest number of daily diagnoses since June 26.