Encrypted messages, ‘scouts’ in the city and rogue police officers: Inside the ‘biggest ever’ anti-lockdown rally set to take place in Melbourne
- Anti-lockdown protesters have organised the ‘biggest ever’ protest on Sunday
- Organisers claim the co-ordination and planning is more sophisticated than ever
- Protesters have been ordered to start smaller protests close to the CBD at 7am
- Almost 700 demonstrators will then rush together for the main event at 1pm
- Organisers said scouts and rogue officers will feed information about patrols
A sophisticated anti-lockdown protest set to hit Melbourne will use encrypted messages, scouts, and rogue police officers to preserve the large-scale operation.
Almost 700 demonstrators have vowed to swarm the city on Sunday for a mass rally against the Victorian government’s coronavirus restrictions.
It comes a day after up to 150 protesters descended on Elwood and Elsternwick Park in Brighton, 11km from the city’s centre, resulting in 21 fines and 16 arrests.
But organisers claim Sunday will be the ‘big one’, as co-ordination and planning reaches a level that ‘has never been seen at a protest before’.
A woman could be seen yelling out as two officers pulled her hands behind her back at the rally
Protesters have been ordered via encrypted messages to start a series of small rallies within 10 minutes of the CBD kicking off at 7am, according to the Herald Sun.
The location of the main event will be provided at 1pm, when the groups will merge and stream to the area in unison.
In an Instagram poster promoting the event, organisers vowed to ‘flow like water’ during the main protest.
Scouts and rogue cops will reportedly be feeding information about where police are conducting patrols.
‘We are exceptionally thankful to the small number of Victoria Police officers who came forward and are willing to provide information,’ an organiser said.
A sea of police flocked to the city’s Bayside suburbs on Saturday as scores of conspiracy theorists and coronavirus deniers flooded into a park to rebel against Melbourne’s lockdown.
Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday – half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm.
Up to 100 people gathering at Elsternwick Park in Brighton dispersed to Elwood when faced with a long line of officers at the site, 11km from Melbourne’s CBD. Pictured: Protesters and officers at the Saturday demonstrations
A woman is arrested by police at a anti-lockdown protest at Elwood Beach on Saturday
Law enforcement teams circling Elsternwick Park included officers from Public Order Response, the Mounted Unit and Highway Patrol.
A helicopter also monitored the situation from above.
Footage shared online showed mount police chasing dozens of protesters as they fled down a footpath.
‘Get ready to run,’ the man filming can be heard calling out.
Protesters marching along Elwood beach about 1pm were dispersed a third time, and several arrests have been made by officers.
Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.
The protests were described as ‘chaotic’, with one photographer saying there was ‘a lot of running and not much protesting.’
Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.
One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: ‘Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.’
A man ran from police as mounted officers chased protesters down a street during Saturday’s protest
The encrypted messages are being used to announce the ‘flash protests’ and to attempt to avoid police finding out the location of the planned rally
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.
The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have been extended a further four weeks.
Multiple rallies have taken place in Melbourne over the past few weekends, with Victoria police responding with a heavy presence – handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.
Victoria recorded 14 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since June and the tenth day in a row the state has recorded a daily infections increase below 50.