SYDNEY, (AP) Saturday saw more than 250 people arrested for protesting Australia's coronavirus lockdowns. Many were also fined for violating health orders, authorities stated.
After skirmishes brokeout at several protests that took place across the country, seven police officers were taken to hospital with injuries. Melbourne was the site of the largest and most violent demonstration. Many of them were organized by members of encrypted chat groups.
Sydney was in lockdown for over two months while Canberra and Melbourne were placed into lockdown earlier in the month. The lockdown rules restrict people's social interaction and confine them to their homes.
These measures failed to stop Sydney's New South Wales state from reporting a record 825 daily community infections on Saturday. Many cities are currently fighting the highly contagious delta variant.
Protestors say lockdowns must end. Authorities however insist that they are needed to stop the spread of the virus.
A crowd of around 4,000 mostly unmasked protestors yelled, shouted, and flared in Melbourne's central area. Victoria police have arrested 218 people, and handed out more than 200 fines for each of the more than 5,400 Australian dollar ($3,850) violations.
Six Victoria state police officers were taken to hospital. Three people remain in custody after allegedly assaulting officers. Pepper spray was used on several individuals by officers, who claimed that they had no other choice but to use it.
Police in New South Wales arrested 47 people and issued fines of more than 260 for protests. After stopping 38,000 cars from approaching the city, they issued 137 tickets.
New South Wales police reported that a 32-year old man was taken into custody for allegedly assaulting an officer. They expect to bring charges. Authorities said that the officer was treated at a local hospital for neck and head injuries.
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Mal Lanyon, New South Wales' Deputy Commissioner, stated that police expect to be able to identify more people using CCTV and social media footage.
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens was also the scene of protest against the vaccine measures and lockdown. However, Queensland state police denied that they made any arrests.
Wake up sheeple and read one sign at the Brisbane protest.