Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters as violence flares

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More than 260 people have been arrested in Melbourne and Sydney as police clashed with anti-lockdown protesters.

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Violence erupted in Melbourne after 700 people gathered while some 2,000 officials secured the city center with check points, barricades and suspension of all public transport.

Stones, bottles and traffic cones were thrown as trouble escalated in the city’s Richmond and Hawthorne neighborhoods on Saturday.


Victoria Police said six officers needed hospital treatment after the attacks.

“What we saw today was a group of protesters who came together not to oppose independence, but to fight and fight the police,” Commander Mark Galliot said.

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This was followed by a vigorous protest of 4,000 in August, which officials described as the most violent in the city for 20 years.

In Sydney, riot squad officers, highway patrol, detectives and general duty police were also deployed on the streets as around 300 people gathered to protest the ongoing coronavirus measures.

Elsewhere in Australia, a demonstration was also held in Brisbane, despite the fact that the city is not in lockdown.

All this comes as the country grapples with the outbreak of the delta version of Covid-19, which has seen Sydney, Melbourne and the capital Canberra go into strict lockdown for weeks.

Most restrictions in all three locations will remain in place until at least 70 percent of people over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated, which is likely in late October or early November.

A high rate of compliance with public health orders has helped Australia keep the number of infections relatively low, with a total of 85,000 cases and 1,145 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

But protests are mounting as the lockdown continues to curtail people’s personal liberties.


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