Dozens arrested, hundreds fined as police disrupt Sydney anti-lockdown protest

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Dozens arrested, hundreds fined as police disrupt Sydney anti-lockdown protest



Police made dozens of arrests and issued more than 250 fines to people breaching the state’s COVID-19 public health orders on Saturday, after a crackdown on anti-lockdown protesters in central Sydney.Key points:NSW Police significantly outnumbered protesters at the Sydney CBDPolice said the the protest “seriously compromised the public’s safety”The protest lost momentum after one of its key organisers was jailed yesterdayThe demonstration — scheduled to start at Victoria Park, on Broadway, at midday — was thwarted before it began after more than 1,500 police officers made their presence felt across the city throughout the morning.Police said they had issued 261 fines, and made 47 arrests for COVID-19 breaches around NSW on Saturday, most of which were connected with the protest.Officers positioned on foot, horseback, bicycles and motorcycles were out on the streets, at major roads and railway stations. A ring was also created around the CBD.More than 1,000 police officers were out in force across Sydney.(ABC News)Hundreds of protesters descended on the CBD despite the police presence and warnings to stay away. (ABC News: Josh Bavas)Police Minister David Elliott said there had been a community backlash after thousands of people attended a similar protest last month, and he was disappointed that some had not heeded the message.”That small minority has again chosen to blatantly ignore the very clear, repeated warnings of NSW Police, which is disappointing, frustrating and, frankly, disgraceful,” he said.”The actions they have taken are likely to prolong the very lockdown they were protesting about.”Authorities had also issued a prohibition on taxis, rideshares and other transport services from taking people to the city in response to the unauthorised protest.LoadingRoadblocks heading into the CBD were also established at main arteries, such as on the Warringah Freeway in North Sydney.Despite the enormous law enforcement response, police say about 250 demonstrators made their way into the city — many were maskless and holding protest signs.A police officer was taken hospital after he sustained injuries to his neck and head.A 32-year-old man from Five Dock was arrested and taken to Surry Hills Police Station awaiting charges over that incident. NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said the strategy had been successful in helping to keep the number of protesters down.”The traffic operations around Sydney identified 137 people who were in breach of the Public Health Order either by not wearing face coverings, or who had no reasonable excuse to be travelling outside their local government area,” Deputy Commissioner Mr Lanyon said.”As part of road policing operation, nearly 38,000 vehicles were checked at 14 designated traffic points stationed on major roads leading into the city centre, and 120 mobile units were deployed across our roadways.A police officer was hospitalised after suffering injuries to his head and head. (AAP: Steven Saphore)”A small number of people who once again deliberately endangered the health and safety of others in the community by attempting to protest near Ultimo were quickly dispersed by police.”After the arrests, users inside encrypted messaging apps where the protests were being organised in real-time began to panic.”Where are our leaders?!” one Sydney user wrote into the group.”Where the f*** are people who promised to lead it?”One member of the channel said they were forced to turn around after running into the police blockade another called the event an “epic fail”.The Sydney protest lost momentum after one of its key organisers, Anthony Khallouf, was jailed yesterday for breaching public health orders.More than 1,000 police officers were deployed around central Sydney.(ABC News: Josh Bavas)Police said the Victorian man had travelled from Queensland to NSW without a reasonable excuse, in breach of COVID-19 public health orders.Khallouf was yesterday sentenced to eight months prison, with a non-parole period of three months, after pleading guilty to four counts of not complying with a direction and one count each of encouraging the commission of a crime and making false representations resulting in a police investigation.The 29-year-old was a key figure behind a July rally in Sydney that attracted thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators.He encouraged his thousands of followers on social media and on encrypted messaging apps to attend today’s protest.In Melbourne, however, anti-lockdown marches turned violent today after protesters lit flares and clashed with officers who used batons and pepper spray.What you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…



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