An anti-lockdown thug has attacked three officers during ugly scenes which saw 100 demonstrators charge at police in Melbourne.
Wild scenes broke out in Richmond as a group of hooligans clashed with police trying to contain the violent ‘freedom rally’ march.
Extraordinary footage showed dozens of protesters lashing out at police as frustrations boiled over after a tense standoff.
One man in a black hoodie can be seen viciously attacking an officer, before barging over another and then flipping a third on his back.
Another protestor manhandled a female officer, shoving her to the ground.
On a failed day of nationwide anti-lockdown protests, the wildest scenes were in Melbourne, where hooligans bashed police in a vicious confrontation at Richmond. At the top of the photo one man can be seen fighting with an officer
A man in a black hoodie can be seen at the front of the surging crowd of protestors grabbing a female officer by the waist, soon after she was shoved to the ground
Victorian police attempt to hold their line during wild anti-lockdown protest scenes on Victoria Street, Richmond
The footage showed protesters rushing and breaking through a police line on Victoria Street at Richmond.
Officers were forced to use batons and fire capsicum spray on the group of around 100 screaming protesters, some in motorcycle helmets, who threw bottles at officers on duty.
Police arrested 235 people and while most were taken away for breaching health directions, some were charged with assault, riotous behaviour and weapons and drug offences. Each will be fined $5,452, with 193 infringements handed out so far.
Ten police were injured while dealing with the protests, with injuries including a broken elbow and broken nose, a broken finger and torn muscles. Six officers were taken to hospital.
Commander Mark Galliott said bottles and stones were thrown at officers while an authorised vehicle was severely damaged.
‘Angry aggressive young males (were) there to fight the police, not to protest about freedoms,’ he told the media late on Saturday.
Aerial photos show hooligans surging at and attacking police in Melbourne
The swarm of anti-lockdown protesters charge Melbourne police on Victoria street at Richmond
About 1,000 people turned out in full-force to protest against the lockdown as they swarmed in front of traffic in Richmond, in the Victorian capital’s inner suburbs, on Saturday.
Some 2,000 officers were deployed at road checkpoints and barricades, and on roving patrols, to try to stop the rally going ahead in breach of public health orders.
The CBD became a no-go zone ahead of Saturday’s unrest, with most public transport to and from the precinct suspended and a ‘ring of steel’ erected around its fringe with threats of $5,500 fines for anyone travelling into the city without a lawful reason.
Melbourne remains in strict lockdown and has been since the start of August – as it nears an unpopular world record.
Buenos Aires, in Argentina, currently holds the record after the city endured 234 days under lockdown. Melbourne – which has gone through six lockdowns – is expected to hit 235 days on September 23.
Wild footage showed protesters wrestling and fighting with besieged officers
Tensions boiled over after a tense standoff between anti-lockdown protesters and police
Victoria recorded 535 new Covid-19 cases and one death on Saturday, but the state remains hopeful of easing restrictions by Melbourne Cup day.
The brightest hope seemed to be cutting the wait time on the delivery of second Pfizer vaccines for Melbourne residents.
Demonstrators met outside the Richmond Town Hall on Bridge Road at midday and were seen chanting ‘free our children’ and ‘you serve us’ before the protests turned violent.
Scenes escalated as the group reached Burnley Street, with police forced to deploy capsicum spray before arresting dozens of protesters as others taunted and hurled abuse at them.
Police dodged traffic cones, bottles, flares and smoke bombs after angry protesters hurled the items at the blockade.
Shocking footage captured the moment a mob of frenzied protesters broke burst through a police line while screaming ‘f*** you dogs’ and trampling on officers knocked to the ground.
At one point a group of protesters reportedly broke through the gate of an apartment complex as police moved in on them.
Mounted police officers eventually dispersed the crowd.