Furious Australians watched in disbelief as footage of lockdown protests across Melbourne and Sydney filled social media today.
Swarms of passionate so-called ‘freedom fighters’ marched maskless through Melbourne and Sydney, with manic scenes unfolding as police were knocked to the ground in violent scuffles.
There were reports police officers were pelted with rocks and bottles, while protesters were filmed screaming “shame on you, shame on the lot of you” at cops attempting to control the crowd.
The commotion in both locked-down cities echoed similar events held last month, with today’s protest especially concerning given Melbourne’s newly-extended restrictions, and Sydney recording the highest volume of cases nationally over 24 hours since the pandemic began.
But the worsening spread of the deadly Delta strain hasn’t stopped furious anti-vax groups coming out in force, leaving Aussies complying with lockdown hopelessly watching on.
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Emergency physician Stephen Parnis pointed out the strain today’s violence will put on emergency departments battling the virus, writing: “Injuries from today’s protests are being treated in already overworked, stressed emergency departments that struggle with #COVID19Vic outbreaks & staff in isolation.
“I’m disgusted with the few who assume we’ll always be able to pick up the pieces, while they do everything in their power to make a bad situation worse. #Covid19Vic Health services are a precious, finite resource. Please protect them,” he begged.
Others shared footage of the inundated streets, with young children seen joining in among the pack without masks as Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It blasted from a speaker system, egging the group on.
Those involved were branded “selfish” and “moronic”.
Over the course of the afternoon dozens of police officers were seen pepper spraying and tackling demonstrators in Melbourne. Police horses were startled as a line of protesters ran with their arms linked towards the police to breach the barricade.
Flares sere wet off as the crowd chanted “freedom”.
In Sydney, police presence was ramped up ahead of time after officials infiltrated online forums and learned of plans some groups had made to evade penalties for partaking in the march.
A large contingent of around 1400 officers were stationed across the city’s major roads to intercept people on their way to the protest. The event fizzled as a result.
Around 1500 anti-lockdown protesters have also gathered in Brisbane’s CBD meeting in the Botanic Gardens before marching from Parliament House to the city.
The protests were organised by groups of conspiracy theorists as part of a “nationwide rally for freedom, peace and human rights”.
It is the same group behind a July major protest which resulted in 350 fines and 60 people charged, as well as shocking footage and imagery of wild unrest on the streets of Melbourne and Sydney.
Organisers had planned the gatherings across Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns and Townsville.