Dozen anti-vaccine protesters arrested in Melbourne

Sydney, Australia, Sep 22 (EFE).- Australian Police arrested a dozen people Wednesday in Melbourne during the third consecutive day of tense protests against the Covid-19 measures and vaccination campaign.

Authorities since August have reinforced their presence in the city, the country’s second largest, which has been confined for almost a month following another Covid-19 outbreak. Monday saw a violent march and 62 people were arrested Tuesday during another protest.

About 300 people gathered Wednesday around the Shrine of Remembrance in central Melbourne, according to the first estimates by authorities, compared to the thousands who took to the streets earlier in the week.

From the first hour, the police acted preventively against groups of participants by arresting people who did not provide sufficient reasons to justify their presence in the streets, public channel ABC reported.

Some protesters resisted arrest and caused small altercations with authorities, the channel.

The marches were called, for the third day in a row, by unions of construction workers for the obligation to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to access a job in the industry.

Representatives of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union said ultra-right groups have infiltrated demonstrations and are responsible for Monday and Tuesday’s violence against authorities.

Unrest between police and protesters Monday prompted authorities to shut down works in Melbourne for two weeks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly, said he was “very concerned” about the “unacceptable behavior” during the protests, adding that measures have been shown to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, which is expected to fully vaccinate 70 percent of its population by late October and ease restrictions, reported 628 new cases Wednesday.

New South Wales, which has confined Sydney since Jun. 26 and plans to ease measures in mid-October, registered 1,035 new infections. Australia has accumulated more than 90,000 cases and about 1,180 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. EFE


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