Victorian police arrested four people and issued nine fines during a south Melbourne protest against CCP virus restrictions on Aug. 26.
Hundreds of people marched through Dandenong suburbs for the second time in as many days, against the Victorian government’s stage four lockdown imposed to combat the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Residents in greater Melbourne have been told to travel no more than five kilometres (3.1 miles) from their homes unless it’s for work, masks are now mandatory everywhere in public, and people are only allowed outside their homes for one hour to exercise.
Following a stand-off with police at the George Andrews Reserve, four men were arrested for failing to provide identification and breaching the chief health officer’s directions; a police report emailed to The Epoch Times stated.
Two of the men arrested face additional charges. A 19-year-old Dandenong man was charged with use of threatening words, and a 28-year-old was charged with assaulting and resisting police, the police report read.
During a press conference on Aug. 27 with Dandenong representative Gabrielle Williams, when asked to respond to the protestor’s actions, Premier Dan Andrews said they were not lawful or safe.
“Protests are not something that should be happening, no matter what the purpose is or no matter what the reason is,” said Andrews
“I just don’t think that’s in anybody’s interest. That will mean it takes longer for us to get past the second wave, it’ll put at risk a lot of the gains that we’ve made, and I think everyone should be focused on that,” Andrews said.
Williams, who is in regular contact with the Dandenong community, said she was concerned about peoples safety.
“As we all know, stage four restrictions are hard. You know a lot of people are frustrated; we all know they’re difficult. But the best way to keep all of us safe, particularly the most vulnerable in our community is if we all follow the advice of the chief health officer,” Williams said.
She said the protests had led her to ensure people in the community are getting the support and information they require to stay safe.
The protest at the George Andrews Reserve came after police issued nine fines on Aug. 26 and 11 the day before.
Since Aug. 17, Victoria Police have issued over 1,700 fines for violating the Chief Health Officer directions, a third of these have been for breaking the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Fifteen percent have been issued for not wearing a face covering.
Victoria police currently have powers to issue an on-the-spot fine of $1,652 (US$1,185) for breaking social distancing orders. Since Aug. 4 the government increased it to $4,957 as part of a wider crackdown on citizens breaching stage four restrictions.
A mass protest against the government’s stage four restrictions are scheduled on Sept. 5 in central Melbourne and other major cities across Australia. A Freedom Day rally has been set up on Facebook, hosted by 500,000 people to end the Victorian lockdown.
According to the social media events page, over 2,000 people have responded. A previous version of the event attracted over 41,000 interests before Facebook censored it.
A previous protest at the Victorian parliament house by Freedom Day took place of Aug. 8 but attracted less than 50 people and most of those who did, were detained or asked to move on.
On Sept. 1 Premier Daniel Andrews will take a proposal to extend the state of emergency powers to the Victoria legislative council. The bill will reach its six-month maximum limit on Sept 14; the same day stage four restrictions are scheduled to lift. The decisive four votes will fall upon upper-house crossbenchers.