A global freedom day rally has been planned in Melbourne on Saturday nearly a month after another anti-lockdown protest with up to 5,000 attendees ended in violence.
Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton on Wednesday reiterated that the organised rally was an “illegal gathering” and that officers would do “everything we can” to prevent it.
The Commissioner said conversations with senior health officials within the government had led to the decision to suspend the public transport network in order to curb the “potential super spreader event”.
Between 8am and 2pm all buses will bypass the CBD, while trams will be returned to their junctions and trains will avoid the city.
On top of the unprecedented public transport move, the city of Melbourne will be essentially locked down during the same period of time.
Police will establish barricades and traffic management points, while roving patrols will circulate the CBD.
“We will be doing everything we can to prevent access to the city,” Mr Patton said.
“For those who do get through, we will have significant police numbers in here to make sure that we are dealing with them.”
Police will also be patrolling public transport on the city’s fringes to ensure passengers are lawfully travelling.
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Mr Patton also hit out at the protesters for putting public health at risk, and insisted families avoid the city.
“I would urge everyone not to come in but this is certainly not a place for family for children,” he said.
“The whole cohort of people who are about freedom don’t seem to respect the freedoms of others. I would urge anybody whose considering coming in to protest, in the first instance do not come.
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“We will be doing everything we can to prevent you getting in here and if you do get in here we will do everything we can to hold you to account.”
The CBD’s essential workers will be given access to the city but will be required to carry their essential worker permit.
Police have also waved a $5,500 fine in front of protesters, while those caught heading to the city for the rally will be slapped with a more than $1500 infringement notice.

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