USA

Thousands protest lockdown in Sydney, several arrested

SYDNEY (AP) — Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest lockdown restrictions amid another surge in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants.

The unmasked participants marched from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “the truth.”

There was a heavy police presence in Sydney, including mounted police and riot officers in response to what authorities said was unauthorized protest activity. Police confirmed a number of arrests had been made.

New South Wales Police said it recognized and supported the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, but the protest was a breach of public health orders.

“The priority for NSW Police is always the safety of the wider community,” a police statement said.

The protest comes as COVID-19 case numbers in the state reached another record with 163 new infections in the last 24 hours.

Greater Sydney has been locked down for the past four weeks, with residents only able to leave home with a reasonable excuse.

“We live in a democracy and normally I am certainly one who supports people’s rights to protest … but at the present time we’ve got cases going through the roof and we have people thinking that’s OK to get out there and possibly be close to each other at a demonstration,” said state Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

In Melbourne, thousands of protesters without masks turned out downtown 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.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Football news:

Dybala and Morata have muscle injuries. They will not play with Chelsea and Torino
Neville criticized the players for apologies in social networks in the style of Bruno: Their PR people create fake personalities
Watzke about Sancho at Manchester United: It hurts me that he is not used so often
UEFA has abandoned the case against the founders of the Super League-Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus
Agnelli on the Super League: Its values will ensure the stability of the football industry
Moriba has not yet played for Leipzig after his transfer from Barca. Coach Marsh does not count on him
Simeone about Milan: Playing with such a club in the Champions League is fantastic. The top team that has grown in recent years