Anti-lockdown protesters are now using encrypted messaging for their ‘freedom day’ rallies in Melbourne.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters headed to the streets over the past two weekends in Melbourne calling for an end to the strict Stage Four lockdown.
The encrypted messages are being used to plan the ‘flash protests’ and to attempt to prevent police from finding out the location of the planned rally.
People march during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia, 13 September 2020
The encrypted messages are being used to announce the ‘flash protests’ and to attempt to avoid police finding out the location of the planned rally
‘If you’re keen on big numbers, Saturday is the one for you,’ the encrypted poster said in a group chat, according to the Herald Sun.
‘We’re also bringing you Sunday Surprise 2.0 – which will be like nothing you’ve ever seen in Victoria before.
‘It’ll be peaceful, in the middle ring of Melbourne, and a lower risk from a fines perspective.’
At the bottom of the poster in red it reads, ‘This eveny will NEVER be cancelled’.
The publication reports more than 600 people have joined the group chat, indicating their interest in the rally.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent confirmed that officers will be ready for the protests.
Police arrest a protester during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13, 2020
Protesters march through the CBD during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Sunday, September 13, 2020
A violent clash ensued between demonstrators and police who were marching the streets calling for Premier Daniel Andrews to ease the city’s draconian lockdown restrictions over the past two weekends.
Melbourne remains in a Stage Four lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their houses without a valid reason, and restrictions are in place to limit movement more than 5km from a person’s home.
The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have been extended a further four weeks.
The state recorded 28 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and a further eight deaths.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in January, Melbourne has recorded 19,970 COVID-19 cases and 745 deaths.
VICTORIA’S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR SEPTEMBER 17
* 8 deaths, taking the state’s toll to 745 and the national figure to 832
* The deaths include one woman in her 60s, two men in their 80s and two men and three women in their 90s
* six of the deaths are aged-care related
* 28 new cases, the lowest number since June 24
* 14-day rolling case average is now 44.4 for Melbourne and 2.9 for regional Victoria
* 947 active cases, including 33 in regional areas
* 143 active cases involving healthcare workers
* 464 active cases linked to aged care
* 97 people are in hospital, with 12 in ICU including 6 on ventilators
* 4272 cases to date have an unknown source, a decline of 6 from Wednesday
* Between September 1-14 there were 83 cases with an unknown source in Melbourne and one in regional Victoria
* More than 2.5 million test results have come back so far, an increase of 14,247 since Wednesday
* 2 active cases in residential disability
* 73 fines issued in the last 24 hours, including 22 for failing to wear a face covering, eight at vehicle checkpoints and eight for curfew breaches
KEY AGED CARE OUTBREAKS
* 252 cases linked to BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community in Werribee
* 218 Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping
* 215 St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner
* 166 Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer
* 140 Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth
* 130 BlueCross Ruckers Hill Aged Care Facility in Northcote
* 128 Twin Parks Aged Care in Reservoir
* 124 Cumberland Manor Aged Care Facility in Sunshine North
* 120 Japara Goonawarra Aged Care Facility in Sunbury
* 119 Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg
OTHER KEY OUTBREAKS
* 33 active cases linked to the Casey community outbreak (total cases: 34)
* 13 Footscray Hospital (15)
* 9 Vawdrey Australia Truck Manufacturer (64)
* 8 Bulla Dairy Foods in Colac (20)
* 6 Wydinia Kindergarten in Colac (16)
* 5 Dandenong Police Station (16)
* The DHHS is investigating cases linked to a ward at The Alfred Hospital. In aged care, a new case is linked to Uniting AgeWell Camberwell Community Condare Court.
* Stage four across metropolitan Melbourne, including a 9pm-5am curfew, 5km travel limit, two-hour outdoor exercise limit, widespread workforce shutdowns
* People in Melbourne who live alone can nominate a friend or family member to visit.
* Measures in regional Victorian measures have eased to allow residents to leave their homes without restriction and all shops to reopen. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, up to five visitors to a home and an opening up of hospitality and entertainment venues with density limits are also allowed.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police