Australian police crackdown on anti-lockdown rallies

Australian police crackdown on anti-lockdown rallies

One protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer, 14 were arrested for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and another 150 were fined on the spot.

Signs the Victoria outbreak is easing come after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that most state and territory leaders have recommitted to opening up the economy by December, although he failed to secure an immediate agreement to lift border restrictions that are hampering the recovery.

Victoria's new cases were below 100 most days this week, down from a peak of 725 new infections on August 5, but remain higher than health officials had hoped five weeks into a six-week hard lockdown.

In a statement issued this morning, Victoria Police said it's "very clear" under stage four restrictions in Melbourne "that people can not leave their home to protest".

"The tail of the second wave is a stubborn thing", Andrews said.

Before Saturday, police confirmed they had arrested four men in connection with the planned Freedom Day rally.

A further 19 people were issued with penalty infringement notices, and a 16-year-old boy was given a youth caution for not complying with a public health order.

"The tinfoil hat-wearing brigade are alive and well in our community", Victoria Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said.

A heavy police presence met protesters at the Shrine, and 9News Melbourne reporter Sam Cucchiara witnessed one woman arrested after several warnings.

"They're taking every opportunity to leverage the current situation to serve their own ridiculous notions about so-called "sovereign citizens", about constitutional issues and about how 5G is going to kill your grandkids".

Premier Daniel Andrews said the numbers are still be reconciled but the deaths include a male in his 60s, a male in his 70s, two males and two females in their 80s and two males and three females in their 90s.

"This is the last gasp of the virus, and we need to work harder than maybe we've ever done before to make sure that, that last gasp is, indeed, the last one".

Camera IconVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce that the street map from lockdown that weekend.

Victoria's total 19,479 cases now account for about 75 per cent of Australia's tally, while the state's 661 total fatalities make up almost 90 per cent of the country's deaths from the virus.

The state of Victoria reported 76 new coronavirus infections and 11 deaths today, as trends in Australia's hot spot for the disease continued to gradually improve after almost five weeks of a hard lockdown in the state's capital Melbourne. All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

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