Anarchy in Melbourne: Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters chanting ‘freedom’ face off with police at Queen Victoria Markets – as riot squad armed with shields try to control roaring crowd
- Hundreds of protesters took to streets of Melbourne to protest lockdown
- They chanted ‘freedom’ as they faced off with police at Queen Victoria Market
- Victoria recorded 41 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths on Sunday
- Anti-lockdown protesters have vowed to take to streets of Melbourne again
- Police descended onto the streets with 14 protesters arrested on Saturday
A second day of anti-lockdown protests in Victoria has seen hundreds of demonstrators swarm Queen Victoria Market.
At least 100 police officers, including those from Public Order Response unit, have the group surrounded and several people have already been arrested.
The ‘Freedom Walk’ comes one day after 14 people were arrested on Saturday for breaking COVID-19 restrictions.
On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting ‘freedom’ and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased.
Melbourne remains in a Stage Four lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their houses without a valid reason, and restrictions are in place to limit movement more than 5km from a person’s home.
On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting ‘freedom’ and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased
The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have both been extended a further four weeks despite the embattled state only recording 41 new cases and seven deaths on Sunday.
The latest figures released on Sunday morning take the state’s death toll to 723 and the national count to 810 since the start of the pandemic in late January.
Leading up to the demonstration, organisers allegedly used encrypted phone apps to communicate, in an attempt to avoid police finding out the location of the planned rally, Herald Sun reported.
In messages sent to participants, organisers encouraged people to ‘be agile, like water’ and stick together throughout the course of the day.
‘Be ready to swarm the location to assemble. Once we have assembled, we are all safe,’ one of the organisers allegedly said.
Tensions between police and protesters escalated about 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street
‘Conducting these protests is dependent on having sufficiently large numbers to outnumber any police presence at a location of assembly.
‘Best way to achieve this is to ensure you have talked to everyone you know that might be interested in attending, and attempt to just bring at least one other person with you.’
Tensions between police and protesters escalated 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street.
Riot police had to separate the crowd.
One man wearing a red and black bandanna told police he had lost faith in authorities throughout the pandemic.
He told police he felt unsafe in their presence, and that contributed to his decision to attend the illegal protest.
‘Dude I’m scared. I don’t even know how I’m going to pay this fine,’ he said.
‘Heartless soulless people. We’ve all lost faith.’
The second protest for the weekend comes hours after a woman shared footage of police dragging her from a car.
Natalie Bonett, 29, said she was making her way through the COVID blockade in Wallan, 60km north of Melbourne, on Saturday when she was stopped by police.
They informed her it was against the law to have her phone attached to a car charger which was mounted onto her windshield.
Following a brief and tense exchange, video shows the officer reach in drag the masked woman from her car as her passenger tried to pull her back in.
Ms Bonett, a lash technician in Melbourne, screamed and pulled away from the officer in the footage, demanding he stop touching her and get out of her car.
A passenger in the car attempted to hold her back, trying to tell the officer she’s ‘got anxiety’ while Ms Bonett became increasingly distressed.
‘What the f**k are you doing, what the f**k, get off me,’ she shouted at the officer.
Moments earlier, the cop had given her an opportunity to state her name, and asked her several times to get out of the car.
‘No, I don’t feel safe. You’re armed,’ she responded.
More to come.
Confronting footage shows the moment a young woman was dragged from her car screaming while she attempted to pass through a coronavirus checkpoint in Melbourne
Ms Bonett claimed officers called for backup when she wouldn’t leave her car and that a total of four police officers eventually arrested her