Anti-lockdown protesters have swarmed the Melbourne CBD today, despite the fact restrictions have already begun to ease.
Although it may have been assumed that protests would end along with stage four restrictions, witnesses reported having heard protesters chanting “freedom” and “human rights matter.”
According to The Australian, protesters also carried signs saying “don’t trust the government,” and “not happy Dan.”
Unsurprisingly, police were quickly alerted to the commotion and gathered around the group just after midday.
From there, 7NEWS reports that several arrests were made, and that capsicum spray was deployed on members of the crowd.
Organisers of the rally said they chose to continue protesting in spite of lockdown being lifted in order to demand Premier Dan Andrews resign, The Australian reports.
Currently, Melburnians are allowed to protest in groups of up to 10 as long as they are within 25km of home.
However, it appears that the large group of protesters were in breach of these guidelines.
“Everyone has a right to protest peacefully, as long as it is in accordance with the chief health officer directions and does not impact the rest of the community, who also have the right to go about their daily business,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said (via 7NEWS).
“Anyone coming into the city in blatant breach of the directions, or looking to disrupt others, create conflict and incite violence can expect a very firm response from police,” she said.
The protest comes after Victoria recorded its fourth consecutive day without any new COVID-19 cases, keeping its rolling average at 1.9 per day.
Further changes to restrictions are expected to commence on Sunday, November 8th, including the removal of the border between Melbourne and regional Victoria.