Thousands of Sydneysiders protest against lockdown. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia
Anti-lockdown protesters are marching shoulder-to-shoulder through the streets of Sydney despite NSW recording its highest number of daily infections since the Covid-19 outbreak started.
A shock photo emerged showing the brazen protesters huddled together as they walked through Broadway in Sydney’s innerwest chanting, holding signs and halting traffic.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Sydney. Picture: Steve HartSource:Supplied
Police have even used pepper spray to control chaotic crowds, with hundreds of people not wearing any face covering.
Officers on horses are following the crowds as they make their way towards Town Hall.
In a statement, NSW Police said Saturday’s protest was “a breach of Covid-19 health orders” and that “a number of people” had been arrested so far.
“The NSW Police Force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, however, today’s protest is in breach of the current COVID-19 Public Health Orders,” it read.
“The priority for NSW Police is always the safety of the wider community.”
Protesters clash with police at the protests in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia
St James and Museum railway stations were forced to close due to the protests.
“Trains continue to operate and for those at the northern end, access is via Wynyard and Circular Quay Railway Stations,” a NSW Police spokesman said.
“For those at the southern end, access will be via Central and Redfern with limited access at Town Hall Railway Station.”
Protestors clash with police. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia
The protest is one of about nine across the country as anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protesters hold a “worldwide rally for freedom” on Saturday afternoon.
The Party Games newsletter Get your political briefing from news.com.au’s political editor Samantha Maiden.
The Party Games newsletter Success! Check your inbox for details. See all newsletters
In Melbourne, police made arrests before the protest even took place with officers arresting multiple people for not wearing a mask and failing to show their ID.
NSW Police make arrests in Sydney’s CBD during a heated protest. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia
Protesters gathered about 12pm at Flinders Street Station, before walking up Swanston Street towards Parliament House.
About 5000 people took to the streets, chanting, waving flags and halting trams and traffic.
Earlier on Saturday NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard described the move to protest as “silly”.
“We live in a democracy and I am certainly one who supports people’s right to protest, but I actually think it is really silly,” he said.
“At present we’ve got cases through the roof and we have people thinking it’s okay to get out there and possibly be close to each other.”
Huge crowds have also gathered in Melbourne’s CBD, many not wearing face masks.Source:Supplied
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said he was “beyond disappointed” at the protests and urged people to rethink their motives to protest amid a global pandemic.
“Please be on the side of humanity, not the side of the virus,” he said.