Melbourne lockdown: protesters gather despite COVID-19 concerns

COVID-19 protests have hit the streets of Melbourne following the announcement of Victoria’s third lockdown.

Following Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement yesterday afternoon of a five-day lockdown for Victoria, protesters gathered outside of the Australian Open, protesting the decision to head back indoors. 

Two people have been arrested on accounts of police assault, and another for breaching bail conditions. Hundreds marched the streets of Melbourne’s CBD, some mounting and attacking officers. The message from protesters was to “make your voices heard,” with many saying that they cannot endure another lockdown. 

Photo: Newscorp Australia
Photo: Newscorp Australia

The five-day snap lockdown begun last night, Friday 11th, at midnight, after eight of the thirteen cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster were found to be the highly infectious B117 variant.

Chief medical officer, Paul Kelly declared the area of Greater Melbourne a hotspot for COVID-19. In his press conference, he stated that “the increased risk posed by the B117 [UK] variant of concern, the occurrence of cases in the community whilst infectious, and the risk of spread to other jurisdictions in Australia.”

The protest was held in the park outside of the Australian Open – where, for the last few days, crowds of up to 30,000 people were allowed. Crowds and gatherings will no longer be permitted under new laws, which include the Australian Open. Play, however, will continue on the athletes’ part. 

“I know it’s not the news that Victorians want to hear today. I know it’s not the place that we wanted to be in,” Andrews stated yesterday in his press conference announcing the lockdown.

However, we’ve all given so much, we’ve all done so much. We’ve built something precious, and we have to make difficult decisions and do difficult things in order to defend what we’ve built.”