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.
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.
#WATCH: Scenes from the anti-lockdown protest today, where hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the inner city suburb of #Richmond.@LanaMurphy with the full details tonight at 6.00pm on #9News pic.twitter.com/7TrXiNuShd
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) September 18, 2021
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”.
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.
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.Internet Explorer Channel Network