Anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne turn violent

Hundreds of lockdown demonstrators in Melbourne defy police

Police have deployed capsicum spray in a bid to dissipate crowds at anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne which turned violent this afternoon.

Protesters have defied warnings and are staging demonstrations in the city, throwing what appear to be flares and smoke bombs at police.

Hundreds of demonstrators – many of whom are not wearing masks – have gathered in the inner suburb of Richmond, in a move apparently designed to avoid police.

© Nine Hundreds of protesters gathered in Melbourne in defiance of police.
© Nine A protester is held by police during the protest in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Huge crowds of people have been seeing charging at police, while others have thrown objects and punches, assaulting officers.

Earlier today, Victoria Police set up checkpoints aimed at keeping them out of the CBD.

Images showed some demonstrators being chased by police and held by officers.

Travel to and from Melbourne’s CBD by public transport and car was halted to prevent anti-lockdown protesters from gathering in the CBD.

But protest organisers switched the time and location of the rally from 12pm in the city centre, The Age reports.

Instead, they switched it to 10am at Richmond and began gathering at about midday outside the Richmond Town Hall.

Hundreds marched in the centre of the road chanting “no more lockdown” and “sack Dan Andrews”.

Some held banners with the words “No more lockdown”.

© 9News Police clash with violent anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne.
© Nine The demonstrators gathered along roads in Richmond in defiance of police.

Others shouted the mental health toll on people was too great.

Most were not wearing masks.

Until 2pm today, no trains, trams and buses will be running to central Melbourne. Services are terminating at suburban stations.

© Nine Police hold back marching protesters during the Melbourne lockdown demonstration.

There is a limited shuttle bus service running from key locations for residents who are permitted to travel.

More than 2000 police officers have been deployed to stop and deter the protesters.

More to come.

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