Due to the lockdown, mass gatherings as well as demonstrations have been banned. In Melbourne, 2,000 officers cordoned off the city center with checkpoints and barricades to prevent declared protests. Public transport has also been temporarily closed. However, about 700 people managed to gather in Melbourne. In Sydney, where similar measures have been taken, gatherings were smaller.
Australia has been grappling with a delta-type outbreak of the coronavirus since mid-June, with Sydney, Melbourne and the capital Canberra, among others, in strict lockdowns for weeks. On Saturday, 1,882 new cases of coronavirus were reported, the majority of them in Sydney.
Most of the restrictions are in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra and will remain in place until at least 70 percent of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated. Given the current vaccination rate, this won’t be the case until late October or early November.
Strict coronavirus rules have helped Australia contain the spread. The country has recorded less than 85,000 infections and 1,148 deaths since the start of the pandemic, out of nearly 26 million people.
“It is deeply disappointing to see yet another example of a small minority showing complete disregard for the health and safety of not only the police, but all Victorians,” the Victoria Police Department said in a statement.
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