Hundreds of protesters dressed in hi-vis gathered in the city again on Wednesday after an estimated 2,000 demonstrators marched from the CFMEU headquarters to state parliament and then onto the West Gate Freeway on Tuesday.
Victoria Police vowed the response would employ multiple resources on Wednesday – the third consecutive day of protests – to ensure the same chaotic scenes were not repeated.
An officer from the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is seen along King Street in Melbourne on Wednesday. Picture: Getty Images
Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent told Sky News Australia on Wednesday morning ahead of the rally “a lot of police resources” were brought in from regional and metropolitan areas in preparation.
“We will be ready early this morning to try and disrupt this protest and try and completely avoid a repeat of what we saw yesterday of that aggressive behaviour by the protest, the criminal acts, the vandalising of property,” he said.
“We will be acting quite swiftly this morning to try and prevent that happening again.”
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Victoria Police stand outside the CFMEU Office on Wednesday as they use new tactics to disperse the crowds. Picture: Getty Images
The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) were called in to help control Wednesday’s protest in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
Host Peter Stefanovic asked whether police would be “aggressive”.
The Deputy Commissioner replied: “We’re just going to look at trying to prevent this occurring so there’s multiple operational targets we can try and utilise.”
“I obviously don’t want to share those with the broader community.”
The protesters are rallying against lockdowns and mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for construction workers.
Hundreds of construction workers join Melbourne protests
During Wednesday’s protests, riot officers appeared to fire tear gas and rubber bullets during the heightened police response at a small number of protesters.
Pepper spray was also deployed to separate the crowd.
Video footage shared to Twitter showed officers rushing towards the demonstrators in another attempt to segregate the protesters.
The intensified response also included a significant number of officers on the ground.
Riot police out in force in Melbourne CBD as essential workers sent home
 
Some of the tactics used were similar to those employed yesterday.  
Shane Patton, Victoria’s Police Chief Commissioner, said officers used pepper balls, foam baton rounds, smoke bombs and stringer grenades which deployed rubber pellets, during Tuesdays protests.  
Police made 44 arrests while Patton said three officers and one journalist were injured on Tuesday. 

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