Police make several arrests in Melbourne and Sydney as hundreds of people join protests against coronavirus restrictions in Australia.

Police have made several arrests in Melbourne and Sydney as hundreds of people joined protests against coronavirus restrictions in Australia.
Key points:

  • Hundreds of protesters marched from Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to Albert Park Lake
  • They were met by police officers, who made several arrests for breaches of stage 4 restrictions
  • Smaller anti-lockdown protests were also held in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth

Earlier today it was unclear how many people would be attending Melbourne’s protests, with some anti-lockdown groups shifting to online events ahead of the State Government’s roadmap announcement tomorrow.
However, hundreds of people gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in the city’s CBD this morning, despite warnings from health authorities.
Around 300 protesters later walked from the shrine to Albert Park Lake, where police made more arrests as they attempted to contain the crowd.
Multiple arrests were made as protesters marched around Albert Park Lake.(Supplied)
The protest appeared to have dispersed by around 2:30pm, but a strong police presence remained around the Shrine of Remembrance.
Many of the protesters were not wearing masks. Some chanted “freedom”, while others shouted insults at the media.
Police arrested several protesters after the crowd marched from the Shrine of Remembrance.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)
A woman at the Shrine of Remembrance was seen refusing to put a face mask on when asked to by police, saying she was healthy and did not need to.
“There’s no epidemic it’s just a pretext to keep us in lockdown,” the woman told reporters as she was leaving.
Police officers on horseback met protesters at the shrine, and later near the lake, and the ABC has witnessed several arrests.
Victoria Police officers made several arrests at the Shrine of Remembrance.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)
Interstate rallies held in ‘solidarity’ with Victorian protesters
In Sydney, NSW Police arrested a number of people in Hyde Park and Olympic Park at protests staged in support of the rallies in Melbourne.
Police made multiple arrests at a ‘Freedom Day’ protest staged in Sydney’s Hyde Park.(ABC News)
Among those arrested was a man who police say allegedly assaulted an officer.
A number of protesters are still demonstrating and the police operations are ongoing.
Hundreds of protesters also gathered at Brisbane’s botanic gardens as part of the ‘Freedom Day’ protest movement.
Protesters in Brisbane held signs reading ‘Freedom Matters’ and ‘Make Australia Great Again’.(ABC News: Alex Papp)
Around 200 people joined a peaceful protest in Adelaide against coronavirus restrictions, a possible vaccine and privacy breaches.
A small protest was held at Rundle Mall in Adelaide.(ABC News: Michael Clements)
In Perth, hundreds of people rallied at State Parliament as part of the coordinated demonstrations.
Protesters sat with signs bearing messages about freedom at the Perth anti-lockdown demonstration.(ABC News: Charlotte Hamlyn)
Attendees Kenneth and Charmaine said they were there to “share our solidarity with our fellow human beings in Victoria”.
“They can’t go about their own business, what they want to do, and we’re concerned about that,” they said.
An anti-lockdown protester in Perth wears a shirt with “SAY NO TO MANDATORY VACCINATION” on the back.(ABC News: Charlotte Hamlyn)
“Our economy is going to crash because if we don’t start opening up borders and letting people have freedom of choice to do what they want to do, how are we going to exist?”
In Victoria, police had earlier warned it was “very clear that people cannot leave their home to protest” under stage 4 restrictions.
“Participating in this proposed protest would be a serious and blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer’s directions and jeopardises the health of the entire community,” a statement from Victoria Police said.
“We will have a strong, visible presence in and around the CBD.
Mounted police officers were sent to the Shrine of Remembrance in response to the planned protests.(ABC News: Rudi De Santis)
“We are extremely well prepared to respond, and those thinking of still protesting in the city can expect a swift and firm response from police.
“We have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines to anyone blatantly breaching the restrictions, as well as making arrests if necessary.”