Australia : Thousands gather in anti-lockdown protests in several cities
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have taken to the streets of Sydney and other major Australian cities to protest against coronavirus restrictions as infections hit a new record and authorities warned of a “growing problem”.
In Sydney, the unmasked participants on Saturday marched from Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “the truth”.
People chanted “freedom” as they marched through the centre of Sydney. Officers said they had made 57 arrests. Australian governments have re-imposed lockdowns across the country amid a surge in new infections.
In Melbourne, thousands of protesters without masks turned out in the city centre chanting “freedom”. Some of them lit flares as they gathered outside Victoria state’s Parliament House.
They held banners, including one that read: “This is not about a virus it’s about total government control of the people.” A car protest rally is also planned in Adelaide, which is also under lockdown, with police warning they will make arrests over unlawful activity.
Meanwhile, almost 250 people have been fined for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules over the past 24 hours in NSW. Most of the fines handed out yesterday were for people blatantly disobeying the rules by having parties at home.Police were called to a party at Pyrmont where eight people were fined $1000.
The arrival of the highly contagious Delta variant has challenged the country’s previous strategy of border closures, quarantine programmes and snap lockdowns which helped keep cases low. Vaccination rates remain the lowest among developed nations, with fewer than 14% of people jabbed.