Arrests in Australia amid anti-lockdown protests

Sydney, Australia, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- At least 18 people were arrested on Saturday in Australia during protests against restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Demonstrations took place in a number of cities including Melbourne and Sydney which saw hundreds of people take to the streets against confinement measures to reduce Covid-19 infections.

There were clashes between police and protesters in Melbourne, where a second lockdown is underway after the city became the country’s hotspot for infections, which led to 15 people being arrested.

Victorian State Police said in a statement that 14 protesters were detained for violating restrictions imposed in Australia’s second most populated city since 9 July, while another person was arrested for assaulting a police officer.

“Our investigations into this protest will continue and we expect to issue further fines once the identity of individuals has been confirmed,” police added.

Unauthorized demonstrations were repeated in several cities around the country where unmasked participants shouted “freedom” and marched against the pandemic measures and the requirement to wear masks.

In Sydney, the country’s largest city, protests took place in several parks and police arrested three people, one of whom was accused of assaulting an officer.

The demonstrations took place one day before Australian authorities were due to announce a roadmap to deescalate measures in the state of Victoria, which is fighting a second wave of Covid-19 contagion.

In the state capital Melbourne around five million people have been put into lockdown until at least 13 September.

It came after a resurgence of coronavirus cases were detected in late June, which saw infection figures jump from around 2,200 to more than 19,000 in Victoria.

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