Thousands took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest isolation restrictions amid yet another spike in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants.
Masked participants marched from Victoria Park, Sydney to the City Hall in the CBD, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “truth.”
Sydney had a strong police presence, including mounted police and riot police, in response to what authorities described as an unsanctioned protest. Police have confirmed that there have been a number of arrests.
NSW police said they recognize and support the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, but the protest was in violation of public health regulations.
“The safety of the general public is always a priority for the NSW police,” the police said in a statement.
The protest comes like COVID-19 the number of cases in the state has reached a new record with 163 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Greater Sydney has been on lockdown for the past four weeks and residents were only allowed to leave for valid reasons.
“We live in a democracy, and usually I am definitely one of those who support the people’s right to protest … but at the moment we have a lot of things to do and we have people who think it’s okay to come out and perhaps be near each of them. others at the demonstration, ”said State Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
In Melbourne, thousands of unmasked demonstrators marched into the city center and chanted “freedom.” Some of them lit flares as they gathered outside the Victoria Parliament building.
They held posters, including one with the caption: “This is not a virus, but complete government control over people.”
A car protest is also planned in Adelaide, which is also blocked, with a warning to police that they will make arrests for illegal activities.