Police talk to a man in a park near the Victorian Parliament building in Melbourne ahead of possible anti lockdown protests on Saturday. Picture: David Crosling
Police talk to a man in a park near the Victorian Parliament building in Melbourne ahead of possible anti lockdown protests on Saturday. Picture: David Crosling

Police face-off at lockdown rallies

Victorian police are out in force amid fears thousands of people would take to the streets for another anti-lockdown rally.

With great public interest on a 'Freedom Day' rally on social media, police have been seen on horseback and around Parliament House, which was believed to be one of the locations targeted by protesters.

Police move in on Parliament House ahead of possible anti lockdown protests today. Picture: David Crosling
Police move in on Parliament House ahead of possible anti lockdown protests today. Picture: David Crosling

 

There have also been reports of officers stopping early morning walkers outside of the centre of state government.

A man has also been arrested ahead of the planned rally behind Parliament House.

 

Police arrest a protester behind Victorian Parliament building. Picture: David Crosling
Police arrest a protester behind Victorian Parliament building. Picture: David Crosling

The man was holding a sign which read: "State law inconsistent with the Commonwealth of Australia, Constitution 1902."

The man was seen was seen being taken into the back of a police car.

Further arrests have been made at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, including a woman who was taken Melbourne West police station and a maskless man who repeatedly called police "Nazi dogs".

A woman and an elderly man wearing a green face protector were also placed in handcuffs before 10.30am.

Two women, including one in a tin foil hat, were also fined for breaching COVID-19 orders.

Following the arrests, protesters moved from the Shrine and began marching down St Kilda Rd.

As Victoria recorded 76 new coronavirus infections and 11 deaths on Saturday, Premier Daniel Andrews slammed anti-lockdown protestors, calling their behaviour "absolutely selfish".

"It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not law. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting," he told reporters.

"The only protest we should be engaged in, the only argument, the only fight we should be engaged in is against this virus."

The 'Freedom Day Rally' event on Facebook, which has more than 10,700 members, organised protests in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for Saturday morning.

Many people have posted on the group about their antics, donning signs and many without face masks.

Another woman who attended the rally in Hyde Park in Sydney posted footage to the group after she was approached by a police officer.

The police officer explains there is a possible $1000 fine or further police action.

"If you're protesting. you're in branch of the orders," the officer says.

Not here even 10 mins at Hyde Park & look who we come across

Posted by Heather Joy Diggins on Friday, September 4, 2020

Another Facebook post shows a photo of a man in Sydney who appears to be bleeding from his head and handcuffed by police.

According to the post, "people being brutalised and arrested at a peaceful protest in Sydney."

People being brutilised and arrested at a peaceful protest in Sydney. Anzacs didnt die for this. Anyone who thinks peacful assembly isnt a right is part of the problem. You will never have a say again.

Posted by Dean Meenhuis on Friday, September 4, 2020

On Friday conspiracy theorist James Bartolo, 27, warned people not to attend the rally, saying it was a "trap".

Mr Bartolo, who was arrested on Friday for inciting an illegal protest, took to Facebook and said he was "concerned about the safety of the brave men and women who plan to go".

"It is a set up from the get go. It is all just terrible. Don't go to that one," he said.

"What is going to happen, Dan Andrews will blame the protest for the lockdown extension. Don't go to the protest."

Originally published as Police face-off at lockdown rallies

Police keep watch at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne ahead of possible protests. Picture: David Crosling
Police keep watch at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne ahead of possible protests. Picture: David Crosling
The protester was seen being taken in the back of a police car. Picture: David Crosling
The protester was seen being taken in the back of a police car. Picture: David Crosling

Love grows stronger even after 65 years together

Premium Content Love grows stronger even after 65 years together

A Coast couple are celebrating a major milestone marking 65 years of love and...

Two men dead, boy, 9, hospitalised in horror holiday

Premium Content Two men dead, boy, 9, hospitalised in horror holiday

A holiday trip has turned to tragedy at Teewah Beach.

Scorcher to top 47C before massive 16C temp drop

Premium Content Scorcher to top 47C before massive 16C temp drop

Queensland to receive cool change following heatwave