Coronavirus: Arrests as hundreds gather for anti-lockdown protests in Australia
Several people have been arrested in Australia amid anti-lockdown protests attended by hundreds nationwide.
Around 300 people marched in Melbourne in wake of strict measures that have been implemented for a month. They chanted “freedom” and “human rights matter” after heavy police presence.
Anti-lockdown protests have also occurred in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was also singled out – “We are in a city where the cure from Daniel Andrews is actually worse than what’s happening,” protester Fiona Kat told AFP.
Police said that 15 protesters have been arrested. Out of these, 14 have been arrested for breaking lockdown rules and one for assaulting a police officer. Fines on more than 150 protesters were also imposed for violating lockdown.
Mr. Andrews condemned the event – “It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting,” he told reporters.
Local media reported that there were smaller rallies in other areas including Sydney and Byron.
PM Scott Morrison said on Friday that seven of the country’s eight states and territories had agreed to open their internal borders by December.
He said that an eventual travel bubble with New Zealand could boost tourism and help revive the economy.
“In the absence of a vaccine, we may have to live this way for years,” he warned.
Victoria has imposed a six-week lockdown since July to control the spread of coronavirus. BBC reported that Victoria accounts for 75% of
Australia’s total infections and 90% of all deaths. The state reported 11 deaths on Saturday and more than 70 new infections – down from the peak of 725 new infections on 5 August but more than health officials had hoped for five weeks after the restrictions came in.
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