Protesters chanting ‘freedom’ face off with police in Victoria

Violence erupts as anti-lockdown protesters chanting ‘freedom’ storm Queen Victoria Markets – hurling fruit at riot squad officers and attacking police horses in heated clashes

  • Hundreds of protesters took to streets of Melbourne to protest lockdown in Victoria during the COVID crisis
  • They chanted ‘freedom’ and ‘power to the people’ as they faced off with police at Queen Victoria Markets 
  • Victoria recorded 41 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday morning
  • Anti-lockdown protesters have vowed to take to streets of Melbourne again to get the message across 
  • Graphic photographs show several arrests, armed officers and horses kicking people out of the way 

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Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters have massed in Melbourne for a second day, with some throwing fruit at police after raiding market stalls.

Protesters chanting ‘Freedom’ and ‘Power to the people’ were outnumbered by officers at Queen Victoria Market on Sunday.

Footage of violent scuffles and officers on horseback moving through a group inside the market has been posted online.

‘There were a few tense moments when protesters started grabbing fruit and throwing it at police,’ photographer Erik Anderson said from the scene.

Protesters yelled ‘this is not a police state’ and ‘you’ve got to be on the right side of history’.

Mr Anderson estimated that police had arrested dozens of protesters.

Huge crowds of protesters were filmed marching down empty streets in Melbourne, calling for Daniel Andrews to ease the city’s draconian lockdown restrictions.

One man was spotted kicking a police horse as officers attempted to calm crowds hurling abuse at them as they rode through the markets.  

'There were a few tense moments when protesters started grabbing fruit and throwing it at police,' photographer Erik Anderson said from the scene

‘There were a few tense moments when protesters started grabbing fruit and throwing it at police,’ photographer Erik Anderson said from the scene

One protester wore a 'Make America Great Again' cap at the rally

Pictured: One of the protesters

About 150 people gathered at the protest on Sunday, including a man in a Make America Great Again cap (left)

Footage of violent scuffles and officers on horseback moving through a group inside the market has been posted online

Footage of violent scuffles and officers on horseback moving through a group inside the market has been posted online

Police detained a female protester at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market during the rally

Police detained a female protester at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market during the rally

Protesters are seen during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Protesters are seen during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Melbourne remains in a Stage Four lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their houses without a valid reason, and restrictions are in place to limit movement more than 5km from a person’s home. 

The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have been extended a further four weeks despite the embattled state only recording 41 new cases and seven deaths on Sunday. 

The latest figures released on Sunday morning take the state’s death toll to 723 and the national count to 810 since the start of the pandemic in late January. 

Leading up to the demonstration, organisers used encrypted phone apps to communicate, in an attempt to avoid police finding out the location of the planned rally, Herald Sun reported. 

In messages sent to participants, organisers encouraged people to ‘be agile, like water’ and stick together throughout the course of the day.

‘Be ready to swarm the location to assemble. Once we have assembled, we are all safe,’ one of the organisers said.

Police put a mask on a protester during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 1

Police arrest a protester during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Police put a mask on a protester (left) during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne while other officers arrest another woman (right)

Footage of violent scuffles and officers on horseback moving through a group inside the market has been posted online

Footage of violent scuffles and officers on horseback moving through a group inside the market has been posted online

About 150 protesters chanting 'Freedom' and 'Power to the people' were outnumbered by officers at Queen Victoria Market on Sunday

About 150 protesters chanting ‘Freedom’ and ‘Power to the people’ were outnumbered by officers at Queen Victoria Market on Sunday

Protesters clash with Police at the Queen Victoria Market on September 13 during an organised rally

Protesters clash with Police at the Queen Victoria Market on September 13 during an organised rally

A woman is detained by police on the ground at a protest about lockdown in Victoria

A woman is detained by police on the ground at a protest about lockdown in Victoria

‘Conducting these protests is dependent on having sufficiently large numbers to outnumber any police presence at a location of assembly.

‘Best way to achieve this is to ensure you have talked to everyone you know that might be interested in attending, and attempt to just bring at least one other person with you.’

Tensions between police and protesters escalated 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street.

Riot police had to separate the crowd and Peel Street remains blocked off to the public.

Pictures taken at the scene show officers shepherding protesters through the streets and arresting people who do not comply with orders.  

Tensions between police and protesters escalated 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street

Tensions between police and protesters escalated 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street

Pictures taken at the scene show officers shepherding protesters through the streets and arresting people who do not comply with orders

Pictures taken at the scene show officers shepherding protesters through the streets and arresting people who do not comply with orders

'Life is beautiful... It's the system that is ugly,' one sign at the protest on Sunday read

‘Life is beautiful… It’s the system that is ugly,’ one sign at the protest on Sunday read

Pictures taken at the scene show officers shepherding protesters through the streets and arresting people who do not comply with orders

Pictures taken at the scene show officers shepherding protesters through the streets and arresting people who do not comply with orders

One man wearing a red and black bandanna told police he had lost faith in authorities throughout the pandemic.

He told police he felt unsafe in their presence, and that contributed to his decision to attend the illegal protest.  

‘Dude I’m scared. I don’t even know how I’m going to pay this fine,’ he said. 

‘Heartless soulless people. We’ve all lost faith.’

The second protest for the weekend comes hours after a woman shared footage of police dragging her from her car. 

Natalie Bonett, 29, said she was making her way through the COVID blockade in Wallan, 60km north of Melbourne, on Saturday when she was stopped by police.

At least 100 police officers, including those from Public Order Response unit, have the group surrounded and several people have already been arrested

At least 100 police officers, including those from Public Order Response unit, have the group surrounded and several people have already been arrested

A woman hangs out of a car window near police wearing masks during the anti-lockdown protest

A woman hangs out of a car window near police wearing masks during the anti-lockdown protest

Protesters have been clashing with police on Sunday and several people have been arrested

Protesters have been clashing with police on Sunday and several people have been arrested

Protesters have clashed with police during a 'freedom walk' on Sunday to protest Victoria's strict lockdown

Protesters have clashed with police during a ‘freedom walk’ on Sunday to protest Victoria’s strict lockdown 

They informed her it was against the law to have her phone attached to a car charger which was mounted onto her windshield.

Following a brief and tense exchange, video shows the officer reach in drag the masked woman from her car as her passenger tried to pull her back in. 

Ms Bonett, a lash technician in Melbourne, screamed and pulled away from the officer in the footage, demanding he stop touching her and get out of her car. 

A passenger in the car attempted to hold her back, trying to tell the officer she’s ‘got anxiety’ while Ms Bonett became increasingly distressed. 

‘What the f**k are you doing, what the f**k, get off me,’ she shouted at the officer. 

Moments earlier, the cop had given her an opportunity to state her name, and asked her several times to get out of the car.

‘No, I don’t feel safe. You’re armed,’ she responded.  

Pictured: : A man is detained by members of Victoria Police at the Queen Victoria Market

Pictured: : A man is detained by members of Victoria Police at the Queen Victoria Market

Police are seen at the Shrine of Remembrance before a planned anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Saturday. The protest continued on Sunday

Police are seen at the Shrine of Remembrance before a planned anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Saturday. The protest continued on Sunday

Ms Bonett claimed officers called for backup when she wouldn't leave her car and that a total of four police officers eventually arrested her

Ms Bonett claimed officers called for backup when she wouldn’t leave her car and that a total of four police officers eventually arrested her

Police move protesters on during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Police move protesters on during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Mounted police used their horses to break through heavy congestion, moving people along in the process

Mounted police used their horses to break through heavy congestion, moving people along in the process

Police previously vowed to issue more $1,652 fines ahead of Sunday’s protest.

‘Police had significant prevention activity in the lead up to and duration of today’s which included visiting 90 persons of interest to urge them not to attend,’ a police statement on Saturday said.

‘Our investigations into this protest will continue, and we expect to issue further fines once the identity of individuals has been confirmed.’

‘Anyone thinking of attending a protest can expect the same swift and firm response from police as has occurred today and at previous protests that were in breach of Chief Health Officer restrictions.’

Officers on horseback and in riot gear marched through the city during Saturday’s protests.

Demonstrators were taken away in handcuffs as police tried to avoid a repeat of last week’s protest that saw violent clashes leading to 17 arrests.

Police arrest a protester during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Police arrest a protester during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13

Confronting footage shows the moment a young woman was dragged from her car screaming while she attempted to pass through a coronavirus checkpoint in Melbourne

Confronting footage shows the moment a young woman was dragged from her car screaming while she attempted to pass through a coronavirus checkpoint in Melbourne

On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting 'freedom' and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased

On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting ‘freedom’ and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased

One man was arrested on Saturday after holding an anti-lockdown sign and calling out to police outside the Shrine of Remembrance.

The man told News Corp he wasn’t a conspiracy theorist but was anti-government and nodded when asked if it was ‘worth the fine’.

Another mask-wearer was seen being spoken to by an officer while holding a sign that read: ‘I am just exercising… my human rights’. 

One elderly woman had her details taken by police after she held up a sign with the message: ‘open our churches’.  

One woman was dramatically restrained on the ground by multiple officers at the Observatory Gate because she wouldn’t give her ID, the Herald Sun reported. 

She was shoved into the back of a police car while screaming to be let go.

‘They’ve arrested me because I won’t say my name. I’ve been in Melbourne all my life, I just want to go for a walk,’ the woman said.  

A man wears a face shield with Mr Andrews' head on the back while speaking to police at the march

A man wears a face shield with Mr Andrews’ head on the back while speaking to police at the march

On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting 'freedom' and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased

On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets again, chanting ‘freedom’ and demanding draconian lockdown restrictions be eased

Meanwhile a man with a picture of Premier Daniel Andrews stuck to the back of his face shield paraded through the protest while another had a mask saying ‘sack Daniel Andrews’. 

The ‘Freedom Walk’ is believed to be the doing of sacked Clive Palmer political candidate and conspiracy theorist Tony Pecora, 43.

Mr Pecora was arrested by police after allegedly planning the event and charged with two counts of incitement. 

The 43-year-old allegedly created the event on social media under the alias Arkwell Tripellego.

He believes the deadly coronavirus was ‘genetically engineered by world banks to kill off weak humans’.

He then quoted Midnight Oil, allegedly telling police if someone contracted coronavirus at one of his events ‘it would be better to die on your feet than live on your knees’. 

One man was arrested after calling out to police and showing them an anti-government sign on Saturday morning

One man was arrested after calling out to police and showing them an anti-government sign on Saturday morning

A mask-wearing protester arrested as police prepare for an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday

A mask-wearing protester arrested as police prepare for an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday

Pictured: Protesters at the rally on Saturday

Members of the mounted police unit are out in full force in Victoria on Sunday. Pictured on Saturday

Members of the mounted police unit are out in full force in Victoria on Sunday. Pictured on Saturday

A demonstrator is taken away by police in handcuffs on Sunday

A demonstrator is taken away by police in handcuffs on Sunday

A demonstrator is taken away from the illegal rally by police in handcuffs on Sunday 

On Sunday, Mr Andrews announced an extension of the State of Emergency and State of Disaster in Victoria.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said the extension of the State of Emergency, which will now last until at least October 11, was crucial for the implementation of necessary COVID-safe guidelines. 

‘The State of Emergency ensures we have all the tools we need to fight this virus – keeping all of us safe,’ she said.

Meanwhile Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

‘Extending a State of Disaster is never a decision we make lightly – and it won’t be in place a moment longer than it needs to be,’ she said on Sunday. 

‘We are at a critical point right now. And we have to do everything we can to hold onto the gains we’ve made, which means giving Victoria Police everything they need to enforce the Chief Health Officer’s directions as we keep driving down cases.’ 

The financial rescue package will inject up to $1.1billion into small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions. 

A further $251million will be dedicated solely to support bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels which have been decimated during the two lockdowns.

Tensions between police and protesters escalated about 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street

Tensions between police and protesters escalated about 11.45am on Sunday when about 50 people were cornered by police on Peel Street

Mr Andrews (pictured at a press conference on September 11)  has extended the State of Emergency and State of Disaster for a month

Mr Andrews (pictured at a press conference on September 11)  has extended the State of Emergency and State of Disaster for a month

Singage is seen in a window of a closed pub in Melbourne on Thursday, September 10

Singage is seen in a window of a closed pub in Melbourne on Thursday, September 10

The Licenced Venue Fund will provide grants of up to $30,000 to venues, while the government has also waived liquor license fees for 2021. 

‘For our state to recover, we need our businesses to recover too. As we take our first safe and steady steps towards COVID Normal, this support will help make sure we get through this together,’ Mr Andrews said.

‘We’ll continue meeting with and listening to businesses, so we can do everything we can to support them and their workers.’

From Monday, the city of Melbourne will move from the strict Stage Four lockdown into the first step of the roadmap toward reopening.

While modest, the changes will allow for more time outdoors and social interactions.

Mr Andrews said if numbers were kept low the state could open with ‘real confidence’ and keep them low.

‘You can open up and stay open,’ he said. ‘That is what we want and that is what we will deliver.

‘That is what we will deliver in regional Victoria and right across metropolitan Melbourne, not bouncing in and out of lockdowns, but making sure that everything that Victorians have given counts for something and delivers us, as I said, a summer that will be like no other.’ 

Pictured: Riot squad in protective gear

Pictured: Police moving through the crowd

A heavy police presence was visible at Queen Victoria Markets during the protest on Sunday

Another mask-wearer was seen being spoken to by an officer while holding a sign that read: 'I am just exercising...my human rights'

Another mask-wearer was seen being spoken to by an officer while holding a sign that read: ‘I am just exercising…my human rights’

What is the difference between a ‘State of Emergency’ and a ‘State of Disaster’? 

State of Emergency

A State of Emergency can be declared when there is a serious risk to public health.

It first came into effect in Victoria on March 16 to give Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton wide-ranging powers to enforce new coronavirus restrictions.  

Professor Sutton had the authority to direct health officials to detain people, force entire suburbs and regions into lockdown or search premises without a warrant if he felt it was necessary to protect the health of the public.

The State of Emergency initially allowed the government to enforce social distancing and mandatory quarantine.  

State of Disaster

While the State of Emergency grants powers to Professor Sutton, a State of Disaster grants additional powers to police and enforcement agencies.

The State of Disaster came into effect on August 2nd and has faced several one month extensions since then. 

To declare a State of Disaster, the premier must be concerned that an emergency ‘constitutes or is likely to constitute a significant and widespread danger to life or property in Victoria’.

A pandemic, plague or epidemic falls into this bracket.

The State of Disaster allows the enforcement of curfews and restrictions of movement within a city.   

  

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People wearing face masks exercise in Williamstown in Melbourne. Melburnians wil be able to exercise for two hours each day under new, eased restrictions

People wearing face masks exercise in Williamstown in Melbourne. Melburnians wil be able to exercise for two hours each day under new, eased restrictions

People living alone or single parents will be able to invite one other person into their homes.

Mr Andrews said he would allow ‘social bubbles’ even when exercising outdoors, which will now be extended to up to two hours per day – which can be split over two sessions. 

Playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment will reopen, and Melbourne’s 8pm lockdown has been pushed back to 9pm.  

Regional Victoria will also enjoy the loosening of several restrictions after successfully stemming the spread of the virus.

Up to five people from two separate households will be able to gather in public places, while outdoor pools and playgrounds will also open.

Religious services will be able to go ahead with up to five people. 

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.

Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28. 

Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.

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. 

Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:

Curfew will be 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 – September 28:

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 – October 26:

Curfew is no longer in place

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 – November 23:

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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