Police on edge as more lockdown protests planned
Victoria Police are on edge this morning with more anti-lockdown protests planned across the city over the weekend.
Police will again block key arterial roads in Melbourne with checkpoints as they try to stop people entering the city to protest, while police will also maintain a strong presence around key landmarks such as the Shrine of Remembrance.
A protest promoting itself as a "Melbourne Walk for Freedom" has been planned for the Tan track at 11am on Saturday with a Facebook event showing at least 1500 people were interested in going.
Organisers have advertised the event as "a legal walk allowing citizens to come together, get healthy and talk about getting our freedoms back".
Separate protests have also been proposed for Sunday.
It comes after hundreds of protesters clashed with police in ugly scenes at the Shrine of Remembrance and Albert Park Lake last Saturday, which saw 17 arrested and 180 fined for breaches of the chief health officer's directions.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius again urged Victorians not to leave home to illegally protest.
"If people still choose to ignore our warnings and attend any of these protest events they should be prepared for a strong police presence in the city and surrounding areas," he said.
"These are significant police resources drawn from across our uniform members and our specialist capabilities, these are resources that are unfairly being taken away from local communities that would otherwise be directed to keeping the community safe.
"We have to direct those resources towards containing the behaviour of a small number of selfish Victorians."
Mr Cornelius said people were kidding themselves if they thought they could leave home for exercise and dress that up as protest.
"Don't take us for fools. We'll call you out and hold you to account," he said.
"We'll have no hesitation in issuing the $1652 fine to people who are engaged in flagrant breaches of the stage-four restrictions.
"Please help keep your fellow Victorians safe. It is at the moment unlawful to leave home to engage in protest activity; it's clear under the current restrictions."
Mr Cornelius said he was "sick" of having to urge "selfish" Victorians not to illegally protest.
"It's incredibly frustrating and if people were less selfish and a little bit more grown up we wouldn't have to keep doing this," the Assistant Commissioner said.
Police arrested and charged a Middle Park man, 43, with two counts of incitement in the lead-up to this weekend's planned protests.
Police also spoke to a number of people planning to protest across the weekend and "put them on notice" not to attend.
Originally published as Police on edge as more protests planned