Protesters clash with police in Australia as lockdown tensions flare

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Protesters lie down for a minute of silence in the position George Floyd was in when he died during a rally against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
Protesters lie down for a minute of silence in the position George Floyd was in when he died during a rally against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in the Australian state of Victoria on Sunday, as frustration over an ongoing COVID-19 lockdown boiled over.

In the capital city of Melbourne, 74 people were arrested and 176 infringement notices were issued for violating lockdown regulations which require residents to remain at home other than for essential reasons.

Roughly 250 people attended the largest demonstration at Queen Victoria Market, with many in the crowd becoming aggressive towards officers, and one person charged with assaulting police.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police said that as long as it remains unlawful for residents to leave their homes to protest, those who do will be held accountable.

“It was extremely disappointing to see people not just protesting, but putting the lives of other Victorians at risk despite all the warnings,” the spokesperson said.

Victoria has remained in stage 4 lockdown for roughly the past six weeks, with restrictions expected to last for at least another month.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that despite the difficulties involved and impact on residents and the economy, maintaining strict social distancing was the only way to contain the virus.

On Monday, Victoria recorded a further 35 cases of COVID-19 — the lowest number in a 24-hour period since late June.

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