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Australia Coronavirus: Melbourne police arrest 74 anti-lock down protesters

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: More than 70 people have been arrested in Melbourne, Australia, for flouting the state’s stay-at-home orders to attend an anti-lock down protest. About 250 people went to the illegal protest – the second one this weekend.Police said “many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers”. The demonstrations come as the state of Victoria prepares to ease its lock down restrictions, which have been in place since early July.

Victoria has been the epicenter of Australia’s Covid-19 outbreak, accounting for 75% of cases and 90% of deaths.The state has extended a state of disaster for another month, giving the police extra powers to enforce public health orders. Victoria’s State Parliament building has also been forced to close “until further notice” after a security guard tested positive for the virus.
Australia has had a total of 26,600 confirmed cases and more than 800 deaths from the virus.The two demonstrations were promoted in social media groups dedicated to sharing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, about 250 people gathered at the central Queen Victoria market, and demanded an end to lock down in the city. They were met with a heavy police presence, and clashes broke out.
Police said they arrested 74 people at Sunday’s protest, and fined 176 others. On Saturday they had arrested 14 people.The force added in a statement that a man believed to be a “primary agitator” is facing charges of incitement, while another was charged with assaulting police.
Last weekend, coronavirus conspiracy theorists held “Freedom Day” events across Australia to protest against what they labelled the country’s “overblown” response to the pandemic.
While delivering his coronavirus update on Saturday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the protesters were “selfish, unlawful and wrong”. “It’s not smart, it’s not right … it’s not the time for protest,” he said. “No one has the right to make choices like that, that potentially puts at risk everything we are working towards.”

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