• Anti-lockdown protests have broken out in Melbourne on Friday afternoon with hundreds attending 
  • Police clashed with protesters and punches reportedly thrown at officers who deployed pepper spray 
  • Melbourne has endured months of strict lockdowns as COVID-19 case numbers brought under control 

By BRETT LACKEY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

PUBLISHED: 16:23 AEDT, 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 AEDT, 23 October 2020

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne.  

Major scuffles erupted as police met the front-line of protesters who had gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.

About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing anti-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city. 

The chaotic scenes are in stark contrast to what would usually be seen in the Victorian capital leading into an AFL grand final weekend. Melburnians gather in numbers protesting lockdown and Dan Andrew

Protesters and police face off at an an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday. Police have used pepper spray amid scuffles with demonstrators

Protesters and police face off at an an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday. Police have used pepper spray amid scuffles with demonstratorsA police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured)

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured) Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured)

Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured) A woman chants in front of members of Victoria Police, who formed a wall in front of activists

A woman chants in front of members of Victoria Police, who formed a wall in front of activists A woman is detained by members of Victoria Police. Protesters are calling on the end to lockdown restrictions in Victoria following a decline in new coronavirus cases reported in the state

A woman is detained by members of Victoria Police. Protesters are calling on the end to lockdown restrictions in Victoria following a decline in new coronavirus cases reported in the stateA pregnant woman holds an anti-lockdown sign at Friday's protestA pregnant woman holds an anti-lockdown sign at Friday’s protest 

Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers on Thursday afternoon, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters.

A number of people have been arrested with one man being filmed yelling at officers: ‘What are you holding me for? What is the problem with you?’ 

Protesters were seen holding the Australian and American and Eureka flags and bearing placards which read ‘Free Vic’ and ‘Corona hoax 1984’. 

The protest got underway about 2pm and is the latest in a string of protests against Premier Daniel Andrews’ tough measures to control COVID-19 infections throughout the last few months.

Protesters face two separate fines if they attend an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne’s CBD.Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester

Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester A unmasked protestor picks up what appears to be an orange flare at the anti-lockdown protestA unmasked protestor picks up what appears to be an orange flare at the anti-lockdown protest The unmasked protestor holds an orange flare at the protest as photographers take picturesThe unmasked protestor holds an orange flare at the protest as photographers take pictures A woman with a megaphone can be seen scuffling with officers as police attempt to control the crowd (pictured)A woman with a megaphone can be seen scuffling with officers as police attempt to control the crowd (pictured) A woman wears headphones with her back to police at the lockdown protestA woman wears headphones with her back to police at the lockdown protest A woman in a 'Donald Trump 2020' mask is seen at the anti-lockdown protest+A woman in a ‘Donald Trump 2020’ mask is seen at the anti-lockdown protest 

Just one year ago, on the Friday before the 2019 final players from the Richmond Tigers and Greater Western Sydney took part in the annual parade through the streets of Melbourne. 

Fans gathered along the city’s streets as the teams meandered along Spring Street and Wellington Parade to Yarra Park where they took the stage in front of an excited crowd. 

Manager of the London Tavern Hotel, Gina Cimarosti, would normally be hosting swarms of thirsty football fans at her corner pub ahead of Australia’s biggest weekend of sport but the beer taps are dry. 

The hulking Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Grand Final’s traditional venue, gathers cobwebs a short walk from Cimarosti’s pub.

‘The Grand Final is usually the biggest day of our year,’ Cimarosti told Reuters in an empty room at the London Tavern.

‘It’s hard not to lose a bit of faith … But we’re just trying to look forward.’ Melbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on SundayMelbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on Sunday 

Unmasked protestors and masked police clash at the anti-lockdown protestPolice arrest a speaker during the anti-lockdown protest in MelbournePolice arrest a speaker during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne A man shouts and waves his hand at police officers as a fellow protestor holds him backA man shouts and waves his hand at police officers as a fellow protestor holds him back

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has warned that protesters could also fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.

Mr Cornelius said the RSL and the Shrine have made it clear that any protest on the site is disrespectful to the memory of people who have served their country.

He said the Shrine legislation covered behaviour and how people are dressed, adding that anyone who refuses to obey police could be fined around $300. Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protestersPlastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters A man wearing a 'Free Victoria' face mask stares down a wall of police officersA man wearing a ‘Free Victoria’ face mask stares down a wall of police officers Many scuffles between police and anti-lockdown protestors broke out. Here an officer and a man in a black balaclava have a physical confrontationMany scuffles between police and anti-lockdown protestors broke out. Here an officer and a man in a black balaclava have a physical confrontation Protesters and members of Victoria Police clash on October 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Protesters are calling on the end to lockdown restrictions in Victoria following a decline in new coronavirus cases reported in the state

Protesters and members of Victoria Police clash on October 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Protesters are calling on the end to lockdown restrictions in Victoria following a decline in new coronavirus cases reported in the state While lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25km from their homes and are not permitted to have visitors to their home unless for caregiving reasons.

They also can be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.

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There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.

A website for the Friday protest tells participants: ‘Daniel Andrews must resign and lockdowns must end. Restore our freedoms now.’The protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured) protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured) About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city's sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the cityAbout 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city Protesters are seen linking arms as they march through Melbourne's CBD, a placard reading "Corona Hoax 1984" can be seen in the crowd (pictured)Protesters are seen linking arms as they march through Melbourne’s CBD, a placard reading ‘Corona Hoax 1984’ can be seen in the crowd (pictured) Police met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne's CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployedPolice met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployed 

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: Came into effect on September 14 

Step two: Came into effect on September 28 

Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26, brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations, but again put on hold after new case numbers plateaued.

This has now been revamped to be a series of ‘mini-steps’ and more gradual easings as the numbers proved difficult to shift.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23 

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING 

Step one – came into effect September 14 

 Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am

 People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

 Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

 Childcare and early educators to remain closed

 Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – came into effect September 28

 Melbourne’s curfew lifted

– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

 Childcare and early educators can re-open

 Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19 

 There are no restrictions on leaving home

 Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

 Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:

 Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

 Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

Comments:

Victoria should be well and truly at step 5 now!

400 students don’t need to be kept away from school unless they are of poor health, have issues such as Asthma. This is more pseudo science.