Melbourne police arrested more than 74 people for mocking stay-at-home orders to protest against lockdown restrictions, with some demonstrators clashing with riot police at a market in the city. About 250 people attended the illegal protest, which was the second in as many days in the city, promoted by coronavirus conspiracy groups on social media.
The demonstrators ignored official warnings and public health orders to gather at the central Queen Victoria market, calling for an end to a weeks-long lockdown of Australia’s second-biggest city. Police arrested 74 people and fined 176, saying in a statement that “many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence toward officers.”
One man believed to be a primary agitator is facing charges while another was charged with assaulting police. Last weekend, “Freedom Day” events were held across Australia to protest what some labeled the government’s “overblown” response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 920,000 people worldwide.