Daniel Andrews has been slammed for cracking down on the anti-lockdown protests after letting thousands of people gather for Black Lives Matter rallies in June.
Up to 200 protesters descended on Melbourne and clashed with police as the ‘Freedom Day’ rally spiralled out of control on Saturday.
Frustrated activists, furious with Mr Andrew’s Stage Four lockdown, turned out in their droves to demand restrictions come to an end.
One crowd faced off with police on horseback as they chanted ‘freedom’ as officers arrested 17 people and gave out more than 160 fines.
The heated demonstration came months after 10,000 Melburnians took to the streets for the Black Lives Matter protests, when police were encouraged to ‘exercise their discretion’ when issuing fines.
Despite the massive crowds, only three fines were issued during the June rally.
The major differences between both rallies saw Mr Andrews’ slammed on social media for the double-standard.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been slammed for cracking down on the anti-lockdown protests after letting thousands of people gather for Black Lives Matter rallies in June
hadow Minister for Police, Corrections and Community Safety David Southwick slammed the premier for his hypocrisy after letting Black Lives Matter rallies run in June
Protesters confront police at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Saturday
State MP for Caulfield and Shadow Minister for Police, Corrections and Community Safety David Southwick questioned the premier’s consistency.
‘Whilst No protest is ok at the moment, spot the difference,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘1. 10k BLM protest – 3 organisers fined.’
‘2. 250 CFMMEU protest – 1 fine.’
‘3. 200 people protest Today – 15 arrests and 150 fines.’
‘Where’s the consistency Dan? No wonder people are angry.’
Mr Southwick said the premier was being hypocritical as he ‘rolled out the red carpet’ for the Black Lives Matter protest.
Police tackle protesters in Melbourne on September 5, 2020 during an anti-lockdown rally protesting the state’s strict lockdown laws as a preventive measure against COVID-19
A woman without a mask is seen holding a sign that reads: ‘End the lockdown the people are suffering’ during Saturday’s protest
Officers scuffle with another protester refusing to wear a mask as the Freedom Day rally spirals out of control
‘Victoria Police have had to take strong action today to clean up Daniel Andrews’ mess who rolled out the red carpet for the 10,000 BLM protest.’
The Victorian Premier criticised Saturday’s protesters, calling their behaviour ‘absolutely selfish’.
‘It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not law. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting,’ he said.
‘The only protest we should be engaged in, the only argument, the only fight we should be engaged in is against this virus.’
His comments come as the state recorded 76 new coronavirus infections and 11 deaths on Saturday.
In total, police arrested 17 people and issued at least 160 infringement notices for breaching the Chief Health Officer directions.
Police released a statement calling the march ‘disappointing’ and criticising attendees for ‘putting the lives of Victorians at risk’.
Of the 17 arrests, 14 were for breaching the Chief Health Officer directions, while one was for assaulting police. They are all currently in custody assisting police with enquiries.
Masked protesters holding placards march through the CBD during a Black Lives Matter rally Black Lives Matter Rally on June 6
Police place a face mask on an arrested protester at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Saturday
Shocking footage shows the horde of protesters, many refusing to wear masks and battling with police, as the city’s CBD was brought to a standstill as traffic was diverted from the area.
Dramatic scenes saw demonstrators tackled to the ground while officers struggled to detain them.
The protests kicked off at the Shrine of Remembrance but coronavirus-deniers then took to the streets, stopping traffic near Albert Park.
As a result of the protest, a police officer received lacerations to the head after being assaulted by an individual who was in attendance.
One woman with a top reading: ‘Freedom’ was seen being dragged away by two police officers as she desperately tried to fight them off.
The Australian Communist Party organised a protest in memory of George Floyd and to highlight Aboriginal rights issues and the black lives matter campaign
Protesters gather during a Black Lives Matter protest, following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd
Meanwhile, another man was seen dragged away from the demonstration with his shirt pulled up around his arm.
Despite the hundreds of protesters in attendance, they were no match for the army of police.
The Black Lives Matter protests saw 10,000 residents hit the streets in Melbourne in June.
Health authorities feared mass gatherings like a public protest would spark a coronavirus outbreak and urged protesters to use hand sanitiser, wear face masks and stay home if they had coronavirus symptoms.
Only three protesters tested positive and there was no evidence of transmission at the rally.