A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne.
The scuffle erupted as police met the front-line of protesters who had gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.
About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city.
A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured)
Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured)
Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters.
A number of people have been arrested with one man being filmed yelling at officers: ‘What are you holding me for? What is the problem with you?’
Protesters were seen holding the Australian and American and Eureka flags and bearing placards which read ‘Free Vic’ and ‘Corona hoax 1984’.
The protest got underway about 2pm and is the latest in a string of protests against Premier Daniel Andrews’ tough measures to control COVID-19 infections throughout the last few months.
Protesters face two separate fines if they attend an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne’s CBD.
Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester
A woman with a megaphone can be seen scuffling with officers as police attempt to control the crowd (pictured)
Melbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on Sunday
Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has warned that protesters could also fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.
Mr Cornelius said the RSL and the Shrine have made it clear that any protest on the site is disrespectful to the memory of people who have served their country.
He said the Shrine legislation covered behaviour and how people are dressed, adding that anyone who refuses to obey police could be fined around $300.
While lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25km from their homes and are not permitted to have visitors to their home unless for caregiving reasons.
They also can be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.
There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.
A website for the Friday protest tells participants: ‘Daniel Andrews must resign and lockdowns must end. Restore our freedoms now.’
The protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured)
About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city
Protesters are seen linking arms as they march through Melbourne’s CBD, a placard reading ‘Corona Hoax 1984’ can be seen in the crowd (pictured)
Police met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployed
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: Came into effect on September 14
Step two: Came into effect on September 28
Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26, brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations, but again put on hold after new case numbers plateaued.
This has now been revamped to be a series of ‘mini-steps’ and more gradual easings as the numbers proved difficult to shift.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING
Step one – came into effect September 14
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – came into effect September 28
– Melbourne’s curfew lifted
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records
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