Violence erupted on the streets of Melbourne with hundreds of mask-less protesters marching on the CBD as the state entered its sixth Covid lockdown at 8pm on Thursday.
Footage taken in the midst of the chaotic scenes shows some demonstrators throwing bottles and other projectiles at police as officers deployed pepper spray to disperse the agitated crowd.
Hundreds of furious Victorians, only released from their fifth lockdown nine days ago, were heard chanting ‘sack Dan Andrews’ as they released flares in the street.
‘Outraged’ Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia they made 15 arrests and will issue 16 others with fines for breaching public health orders, as investigations get underway over the assault of an officer who was allegedly pushed to the ground and stomped on.
It has also been revealed that event organisers may be charged with incitement for their alleged role in whipping up the crowd.
The snap seven-day stay-at-home orders issued by Premier Daniel Andrews came after flurry of mystery cases and a swath of new exposure sites on Thursday.
State health authorities flagged 14 new sites in a late-night drop that included busy shopping centres, supermarkets and two Virgin Airlines flights that an infected passenger travelled on, raising concerns there could be many more cases to come.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters are seen marching through Melbourne’s CBD on Thursday night (pictured) furious at the state being plunged into its sixth lockdown
A large ball of fire is captured in the background as chaotic anti-lockdown protests erupted in Melbourne on Thursday night (pictured) with hundreds taking to the streets
Several flares were set off during the demonstration as tensions boiled over with police, who made 15 arrests at the protest
A protester is seen holding a sign that claims the state’s lockdown is not about Covid (pictured in Melbourne on Thursday night)
A protester with a megaphone is pictured speaking with police officers during the rally
Police take action against 31 protesters
There were 15 arrests
• Two people for the indictable offences of breaching bail and stating false names
• Nine people were arrested before their identity could be confirmed to issue fines.
• Four people are also expected to be charged on summons in relation to breaching their bail, activating a flare and hinder police.
A further 16 people will be issued fines for breaching public health orders
A number of incidents will also form criminal investigations including:
• The assault of a police officer where offenders pushed a police sergeant to the ground and allegedly kicked him.
• The activation of a flare, and
• Criminal damage to a police vehicle
The frustrated protest group met at Flinders Street Station earlier in the evening chanting conspiracy theory slogans and calling for Premier Dan Andrews to be sacked.
One man was captured on video being taken to the ground by four officers atop the steps of the iconic train station as police warned protesters to ‘move away’.
The groups chanted ‘freedom’ and ‘no lockdown’ before one of the rally’s organisers addressed demonstrators with a megaphone.
‘Bring it on Daniel Andrews, we will fight to our last breath,’ the woman screamed.
As the crowd got on the move and made their way down the street toward Parliament House, the march started peacefully with several young children and even babies among the swelling rally.
But the mood quickly turned hostile as protesters made their way past police officer lined up on the footpath.
Violent clashes were captured on video with some in the group shouting abuse at officers and calling them ‘dogs’.
Police could be seen reaching for their pepper spray canisters and telling to the crowd to ‘move away’.
When some in the group continued to move forward, officers fired the non-lethal weapon at various protesters.
Some demonstrators responded by hurling bottles and other projectiles before the hostile group dispersed.
‘There are families, there are kids here and a whole mix of people from Melbourne and the police are just indiscriminately spraying pepper spray into the crowd,’ a man filming the rally dubiously claimed.
‘They are attacking the people who are marching to Parliament House.
‘Spraying kids spraying families, these people have lost their jobs.’
Police officer are pictured threatening protestors with pepper spray as tempers flared on Thursday night
Police tell the hostile crowd to ‘move away’ as they deploy pepper spray on protesters
A bottle or projectile is captured on camera being thrown at police officers as tensions flare
A woman is pictured carrying a baby during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne
A demonstrator is taken away in handcuffs after being arrested by police officers during the raucous rally
Police confirmed they made a total of 15 arrests during the ‘unlawful’ protest with two people slapped in hand cuffs for allegedly breaching bail and stating false names.
A further nine were arrested before their identity could be confirmed to issue fines and four more are expected to be charged in relation to breaching their bail, activating a flare and hindering police.
Officers also issued 16 people with fines for breaching public health orders for offences like exceeding the public gathering limit, failing to wear facemask and travelling 5km from home – which is against the state’s new lockdown rules.
Police confirmed that a number of incidents will now form criminal investigations including the the assault of a police officer who was allegedly pushed to the ground and kicked leaving him with ‘minor cuts and abrasions’.
Hundreds of protesters swarmed Melbourne (pictured on Thursday night) to protest the new lockdown
A demonstrator with a megaphone is seen being pulled away by a police officer outside Flinders Street Station
Other charges are also expected to the laid over the activation of a flare, and criminal damage to a police vehicle.
‘Four of the offenders who were arrested or fined are known to police as protest organisers,’ Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said in a statement.
‘They have been dealt with previously and it is expected they will be presented to court on appropriate charges, such as incitement.
‘Any offenders who are established to be repeat offenders will also face appropriate charges and be placed before the court to prevent their repeat offending.’
Investigators say they’re already scouring video footage to identify as many protesters as possible.
‘Police are, together with the vast majority of Victorians who are doing the right thing, outraged that a small minority of people continue to engage in deliberate breaches of the CHO Directions, putting the lives and jobs of their fellow Victorians, as well as their police at risk,’ Assistant Commissioner Cornelius said.
A demonstrator gives gestures toward police during the anti-lockdown march in Melbourne
At least two flares were let off in the street (pictured) as protesters stormed Melbourne
The drama comes as two Virgin Airlines Flights were declared a Tier 1 Covid exposure sites after a positive case passenger is thought to have travelled while infectious.
Anyone who travelled on Virgin Flight VA808 from Sydney to Melbourne on August 2 departing 7:00am must immediately get tested and self isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
It is the same story for those who flew on Virgin Flight VA1364 from Melbourne to Launceston on the same day, departing at 10:35am.
Those who may have visited Melbourne Airport Terminal 3 between 8:35am and 11:05am are urged to monitor their health an immediately get tested if they feel even the slightest symptoms.
Several other venues across Melbourne were also flagged, including the National Auto Glass store in Derrimut which was exposed for five days, along with Kmart in Footscray in the inner-west.
Central West Shopping Centre in West Footscray was also exposed including its Aldi supermarket, as was the busy Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s inner north-west.
Police made 15 arrests during the rally and issued 16 others with fines for breaching health orders
A police officer discharges a pepper spray canister during the heated demonstration
With stay at home orders kicking in at 8pm, Premier Andrews told residents: ‘Go home, and begin that lockdown.
‘Don’t be out and about because all you might be doing is spreading the virus.’
But that didn’t stop the swarm of protesters, mostly without facemasks, descending on the city with flares, banners and not even an inch of social distancing.
Announcing the lockdown earlier on Thursday, Mr Andrews said there was ‘no alternative’ because the Indian Delta strain of coronavirus is so contagious.
‘None of us want to be in a situation where we have to lockdown again but the Delta variant moves so fast,’ he said.
‘There are no alternatives to lockdown. If you wait, it will spread. And once it spreads, you can never even hope to run alongside it.
‘I would prefer we didn’t have to make this decision now. But my fear is if we were to wait a few days there is every chance instead of being locked down for a week, this gets away from us.’
NEW COVID EXPOSURE SITES IN VICTORIA ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY NIGHT
Tier 1 – Anyone who has visited this location during these times must get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure.
Virgin Flight: VA808 Sydney to Melbourne 02/08/2021 7:00am – 8:35am Case travelled as a passenger
Virgin Flight: VA1364 Melbourne to Launceston 02/08/2021 10:35am – 11:42am Case travelled as a passenger
West Footscray: Eco Laundry – Central West Shopping Centre T36/67 Ashley Street West Footscray VIC 3012 03/08/2021 5:55pm – 7:00pm Case attended venue
Braybrook: One Stop WorkWear 306A Ballarat Road Braybrook VIC 3019 31/07/2021 10:00am – 11:30am Case attended venue
Maribyrnong: Lowes – Highpoint Shopping Centre 120-200 Rosamond Road Maribyrnong VIC 3032 31/07/2021 12:00pm – 1:00pm Case attended venue
Maribyrnong: Bad Workwear – Highpoint Shopping Centre 120-200 Rosamond Road Maribyrnong VIC 3032 31/07/2021 12:30pm – 1:30pm Case attended venue
Derrimut: National Auto Glass Supplies (Derrimut) 31 Benn Court Derrimut VIC 3026 28/07/2021 9:00am – 3:45pm Case attended venue
Tier 2 – Anyone who has visited this location during these times should urgently get tested, then isolate until confirmation of a negative result. Continue to monitor for symptoms, get tested again if symptoms appear.
West Footscray: ALDI West Footscray – Central West Shopping Centre 67 Ashley Street West Footscray VIC 3012 01/08/2021 4:00pm – 5:00pm Case attended venue
Footscray: Kmart Footscray 51 Paisley Street Footscray VIC 3011 01/08/2021 10:30am – 12:00pm Case attended venue 05/08/2021 5:20pm
Braybrook: Metro Petroleum (Petrol Station) 263 Ballarat Road Braybrook VIC 3019 01/08/2021 5:00pm – 5:40pm Case attended venue
West Footscray: ALDI West Footscray – Central West Shopping Centre 67 Ashley Street West Footscray VIC 3012 03/08/2021 5:30pm – 6:20pm Case attended venue
Maribyrnong: Highpoint Food Court (Level 3) 120-200 Rosamond Road Maribyrnong VIC 3032 31/07/2021 12:30pm – 2:00pm Case attended venue
Maribyrnong: Highpoint Shopping Centre (Level 2) 120-200 Rosamond Road Maribyrnong VIC 3032 31/07/2021 12:00pm – 1:30pm Case attended venue 05/08/2021 5:15pm
Tier 3 – Anyone who has visited this location during these times should monitor for symptoms – If symptoms develop, immediately get tested and isolate until you receive a negative result.
Melbourne Airport: Terminal 3 02/08/2021 8:35am – 11:05am Case spent time in terminal
Further information can be found on the Victorian Government’s website.
Residents are only allowed to leave home for exercise, essential shopping, care-giving, essential work and getting vaccinated.
Mr Andrews asked residents to ‘assume you have Covid’ and immediately get tested if suffering any cold and flu symptoms – and he also urged people to obey the rules.
‘I plead with all Victorians please don’t go and visit family and friends, because you might well be contributing to the spread of the virus,’ he said.
The premier said he wanted the lockdown to be successful so the state could open up quickly.
‘I’m determined and I believe we have every chance of being open for the vast majority of the time between now and when we are up to 80 per cent of people who have had the jab.
A protester carries a sign calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to ‘get the boot’ during the Melbourne march on Thursday night
TWO NEW MYSTERY CASES
Female school teacher who lives in the Hobsons Bay area in southwest Melbourne and works at Al-Taqwa College in the western suburb of Truganina
A man who lives in the Maribrynong local government area in northwest Melbourne and works at a warehouse in the western suburb of Derrimut
‘That is absolutely doable. We all have to pay our part to achieve that outcome,’ he said.
Mr Andrews said the whole of the state had to be locked down because of a positive sewage test in Wangaratta, 236km north-east of Melbourne, which indicated cases had already escaped the capital.
‘With one sewerage detection we have to assume there are cases,’ he said.
Victoria recorded six new cases – including two of unknown origin – on Thursday plus an additional two cases that will be lodged in Friday’s numbers.
One of the two new mystery cases is a teacher in her 20s at a prestigious Islamic school in Melbourne – whose positive result has sent 2,100 students and 300 staff members into isolation for 14 days.
The teacher, who lives in the Hobsons Bay area and works at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina in the city’s west was diagnosed on Wednesday and may have been infectious in the community and the school for a week.
The Victorian Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed a female teacher at the Al-Taqwa College (pictured) in Truganina in the city’s west may have been infectious in the community for a week. The teacher lives with her partner in the Hobsons Bay area, he has also tested positive along with two of his family members
It is now the sixth Covid lockdown the city has face since the pandemic hit Australian shores
Police officer are seen moving down the iconic Hosier Lane during anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Thursday
The teacher’s partner, who lives with her, has also tested positive. He works in Caroline Springs and is plays for local Australian Rules club Newport. He played a match on July 31 against West Footscray at Shorten Reserve and members of both teams have been instructed to get tested and isolate.
Two of his family members, who do not live with the couple, returned positive tests today.
A man who lives in the Maribrynong local government area and works at a warehouse in the western suburb of Derrimut is the second new positive case with an unknown source.
Mr Andrews warned on Thursday that his ‘government’s priority is to avoid what’s going on in Sydney’, where Delta variant case numbers continue to rise.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VICTORIA’S NEW LOCKDOWN
– The lockdown is scheduled to run from Thursday August 5 at 8pm for seven days
– There will be only five lawful reasons to leave home
1. Essential shopping
2. Two hours of daily exercise within a 5km radius
3. To seek or provide medical care
4. Work or study that cannot be done from home.
5. To go and get vaccinated.
– Face masks will be mandatory indoors and outdoors
– Schools will return to online learning
– 5km travel limit for essential tasks, including shopping and exercise
– If your business was closed during the last lockdown, they must close this lockdown
– Hospitality open for takeaway only
– General retail is closed, as well as all non-essential businesses
– Visitors to the home are banned
– Funerals capped at ten people, while weddings are banned
– Professional sport can proceed but with no crowds
– Outdoor parks and play areas are open, but those indoors must close