At least seven police officers were injured in national demonstrations against the government’s measures to contain the new crown virus.
More than 250 people have been arrested in Australia protesting the coronavirus lockdown, and many others are facing fines for violating health orders.
At least seven police officers were injured and received medical treatment following skirmishes during demonstrations in various cities across the country on Saturday. The largest and most violent protest occurred in Melbourne. Many are organized by people in encrypted online chat groups.
Sydney is already blockade For two months, Melbourne and the capital, Canberra, went into lockdown earlier this month. According to the blocking rules, people are mostly confined at home and social interaction is restricted.
Despite these measures, the state of New South Wales in Sydney reported a record 825 new daily community infections on Saturday. Some cities are fighting the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The protesters said the blockade should end, but the authorities said they need to curb the spread of the virus and save lives.
In Melbourne, about 4,000 protesters, mostly maskless, fired flares, yelled and played music in the city centre. Victoria Police arrested 218 people and issued more than 200 fines, each with a fine of more than A$5,400 (US$3,850).
Six Victorian police officers were hospitalized and three were detained on suspicion of assaulting police officers. The officials used pepper spray on several people and said in a statement that they had no choice.
In New South Wales, the police said they had arrested 47 people and fined more than 260 people for demonstrations across the state. After intercepting approximately 38,000 vehicles approaching the city, they also issued 137 tickets.
The New South Wales Police said a 32-year-old man suspected of assaulting a police officer has been arrested and they are expected to file charges. The police officer was taken to the district hospital with head and neck injuries.
New South Wales Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said the police wanted to identify more people through security cameras and social media lenses.
More than 2,000 people also gathered at the Brisbane City Botanic Garden to rallied against the lockdown and vaccine measures, although the Queensland Police said they did not arrest anyone.
“Wake up the sheep,” read a slogan during the Brisbane protests.