Protesters are planning to take to the streets again after Melbourne’s sixth coronavirus lockdown was extended by another week.
An event has been flagged for Wednesday night, with organisers calling on people to assemble in breach of health directions, which are in place to bring the state’s Delta variant outbreaks under control.
Hundreds of protesters marched through Melbourne’s CBD last Thursday night when the initial seven-day lockdown was announced, chanting “sack Dan Andrews” and “no more lockdown”.
A 48-year-old Southbank man faced court on Monday charged with pushing over a police officer. A 24-year-old Footscray woman was interviewed and will be charged at a later date after allegedly throwing a bottle at police.
Police also identified a man who lit a flare at the protest.
In all, at least 15 people were arrested during the demonstration and 16 others were fined for various health directions breaches.
Fresh from extending the city’s lockdown until at least August 19, Premier Daniel Andrews said he understood the community’s frustration and anger but pleaded with people not to gather.
“Protests do not work against this virus. Screaming and shouting doesn’t work against this virus,” he said on Wednesday.
“This thing has changed on us. It is Delta – it is not what it was last year. It is a different thing.
“The only thing that works is following the rules, playing our part, looking out for each other, and getting tested as soon as we have symptoms.”
Mr Andrews heaped praise on the vast majority of Victorians committed to following COVID-19 restrictions, saying their efforts would work to bring the lockdown to an end.