Hundreds of people returned to Melbourne’s CBD on Wednesday but were met with a heavy police presence. 
“Disappointingly today, 300 to 400 demonstrators, for what appeared to be a diverse range of reasons came into the city, in contravention of the Chief Health Officer’s directions,” Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther, Public Safety and Security Command, said.
“We were very well prepared, as the broader community would expect. We used various deployments to limit the damage to city buildings and effectively reduce the likelihood of general threats to public safety.
“To be clear there weren’t as many tradies from what we could see and we take that as a real positive. The group seemed much more mixed in terms of their motivation.” 
Protesters and police engage in tense face-off at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance
Demonstrators fled the Shrine of Remembrance – where they were gathered for most of Wednesday – in the late afternoon after police converged on the memorial site, firing rubber bullets and administering tear gas. 
Many protesters were led away by police. More than 200 arrests were made. 
“All of those who will receive penalty infringement notices, if they haven’t already, and some of those have been charged with more serious offences,” the Deputy Commissioner said. 
“Disappointingly as well the nature of those charges relate to flares, the discharge of golf balls, tap handles and batteries towards our police.”    
Two police officers suffered head injuries after they had bottles thrown at them. Another officer was admitted to hospital after suffering chest pains. 
“To those that think this type of action is okay, can I just remind everyone that our primary role as police officers everyday is to protect the broader community,” the Deputy Commissioner said. 
“It’s difficult to do our best in that regard when so many of our people are pulled away from their regular work to address this issue.   
“Importantly we’re also trying to protect those in healthcare that are managing the impact of the pandemic. We don’t want to make their work any harder than it already is.” 
Using Shrine of Remembrance for protests is ‘disgraceful’, says CEO
The Deputy Commissioner said it was “completely disrespectful” the protesters converged on the Shrine of Remembrance.  
“As I said we’re really disappointed that people are still coming into the city in these circumstances,” he said. 
“And finally, my observation, is it was completely disrespectful that the crowd ended up at the Shrine, which is such a hallowed ground in this great city.”       
Veterans and RSL Victoria condemned protesters for using the “sacred” war memorial for their rally.
In a statement, RSL Victoria said: “Under no circumstances, ever, should the Shrine be a place of protest”. 
“If any individuals or groups choose to express their political views, positions or ideological theories in the grounds of the Shrine at any time, they are completely disrespecting the sanctity of this time honoured space, those men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have lost their lives, and all Victorian veterans.” 
More to come.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *