Melbourne Cup day has been celebrated in two drastically different fashions with Sydneysiders polishing off their best race wear, and Melburnians clashing with police in a violent anti-lockdown protest.
The Melbourne Cup race at Flemington Racecourse was crowd-less on Tuesday because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, but hundreds of Melburnians took to a ‘Freedom Day’ rally calling for Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to be sacked.
Crowds in Sydney meanwhile enjoyed a day of sunshine and spectating during the race that stops the nation from the Bentley Cup Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Sydneysiders donned their best racewear and formal attire to attend Bentley Cup Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse
Melburnians have celebrated Melbourne Cup Day in an extremely different fashion to Sydneysiders, with hundreds of protesters taking to the streets (pictured) in a ‘Freedom Day’ rally calling for Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to be sacked
Spectators were banned from the race that stops the nation at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne due to coronavirus restrictions but glamorous racegoers flocked to Bentley Cup Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse (pictured) in Sydney
Violent protesters fronted parliament in Melbourne and clashed with police officers (pictured right) over coronavirus restrictions while Sydneysiders dressed their best to attend the eastern Sydney racecourse (punters pictured left)
Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse was able to host a crowd of around 10,000 with COVID-19 safety measures in place
Punters at Randwick Racecourse (pictured above) are seen crowding together during Bentley Cup Day on Tuesday in what seemed a vaguely normal race day
Despite restrictions easing in Melbourne almost a week ago, protesters angered by the near-four month COVID-19 lockdown gathered outside Victorian parliament on Tuesday.
They unfurled banners such as ‘Not Happy Dan’ and ‘Free Victoria’, before breaking into chants for ‘freedom’.
Others carried signs claiming coronavirus was a hoax and some that read: ‘Don’t trust the government’.
Police formed a ‘ring of steel’ around the rowdy group at the Bourke St and Spring St intersection just after midday, making at least a dozen arrests.
One demonstrator who was pinned to ground could be heard yelling: ‘I can’t breathe’.
He was later seen being escorted away in handcuffs by several police officers.
Melburnians angered by the near-four month COVID-19 lockdown gathered to protest despite restrictions easing in Melbourne almost a week ago (Victoria Police using pepper spray on protesters in Melbourne pictured above)
Protesters unfurled banners such as ‘Not Happy Dan’ and ‘Free Victoria’, before breaking into chants for ‘freedom’ (pictured in Melbourne on Tuesday)
Protested (pictured with police) also claimed the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax amid calling for the premier to resign
Far more civil scenes were seen in Sydney as punters were pictured at socially distanced tables as part of the coronavirus safety measures at Randwick Racecourse
In another arrest, an officer fell to the ground after appearing to get into a scuffle with a protester.
Capsicum spray was used on the crowd, many of whom weren’t wearing face masks in line with the state’s COVID-19 rules.
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said at least one person was assessed due to the pepper spray.
Racegoers pictured watching the Melbourne Cup race during Bentley Cup Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Tuesday (pictured)
Sydneysiders (pictured) donned their best formal attire to celebrate the famous Melbourne race from eastern Sydney
Meanwhile capsicum spray was used on the protesters in Melbourne, many of whom weren’t wearing face masks in line with COVID-19 rules
Punters in Sydney are seen celebrating the Melbourne Cup race in front of the Sydney Opera House at Sydney Harbour (pictured on Tuesday)
Over in Melbourne, protesters (pictured) unfurled banners such as ‘Not Happy Dan’ and ‘Free Victoria’, before breaking into chants for ‘freedom’
Racegoers sanitised their hands as they arrived at the track during Bentley Cup Day as part of coronavirus safety measures (pictured in Sydney)
The Melbourne Cup is famously known as Australia’s biggest horse race and is held annually in Melbourne, but this year the crowd action was in Sydney (pictured, Royal Randwick race course)
‘Everyone has a right to protest peacefully, as long as it is in accordance with the chief health officer directions and does not impact the rest of the community, who also have the right to go about their daily business,’ a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
‘Anyone coming into the city in blatant breach of the directions, or looking to disrupt others, create conflict and incite violence can expect a very firm response from police.’
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s biggest horse race and is held annually in Melbourne.
A group of punters are seen enjoying the sunshine and Melbourne Cup Day celebrations in Sydney Harbour (pictured on Tuesday)
Victoria Police officers formed a ‘ring of steel’ around the rowdy group at the Bourke St and Spring St intersection just after midday and made at least a dozen arrests (police pictured using pepper spray on ‘Freedom Day’ protesters)
Sydneysiders also took to bars around the city (Harbour View Hotel pictured in The Rocks) to watch the famous race
Punters at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney anxiously watched the Melbourne Cup race on a big screen (pictured on Tuesday)
No racegoers or owners were permitted to attend Flemington Racecourse this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing restrictions.
The Royal Randwick Racecourse in east Sydney was able to host a crowd of around 10,000 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Punters were seen dressed in their formal best to watch the races, drink, gamble, take pictures and enjoy a day of socialising.
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said at least one protester was assessed due to the pepper spray used by police
Melbourne Cup Day is celebrated by dressing up, drinking and watching the famous race with friends (Sydney pub pictured)
Another arrest was made after a protester was pinned to the ground by police officers (protest pictured above)
Melburnians were forced to watched the spectator-free Melbourne Cup race on their devices and screens
Other Sydneysiders donned their best race wear to celebrate the day in bars and pubs around the city.
Formally dressed punters could be seen enjoying and cheering on the race outside of pubs at The Rocks in Sydney.
Health Minister Martin Foley condemned the violent protest and said keeping Victoria safe and open was more important than the democratic right to protest.
‘People who want to get around the rules, in smart-aleck approaches, are just asking for trouble,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
‘Don’t protest. Now is not the time to protest. Keep safe, follow the rules and keep us open.’
Victoria Police officers scuffled with the crowd of protesters before making multiple arrests during the lockdown protest
A protester affected by the capsicum spray is seen receiving help during the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne
One young girl attempted to view the race through binoculars as she picnicked in a park overlooking Flemington Racecourse
The group behind the movement has pledged further rallies, saying protesters won’t forget the more than 100 days the city spent in lockdown.
‘We are not dissuaded,’ it said in a statement.
‘We keep fighting till (Premier) Daniel Andrews is gone.’
The rally comes almost a week after restrictions began to be eased in Melbourne.
Restaurants and venues opened with gathering limits on October 27 and the four essential reasons for leaving home were removed.
Under the city’s latest rules, Melburnians are allowed to protest in groups of up to 10 as long as they are within 25km of home and socially distance.
The 25km travel limit and ban on travelling to regional Victoria will be lifted on Sunday.
Twilight Payment won the Melbourne Cup’s main race in Flemington to the surprise of racing experts.
Jockey Jye McNeil took Twilight Payment to the lead – as the horse did in last year’s Cup – but this time he hung on to secure the $4.4million first prize on Tuesday for owner Lloyd Williams, who now has seven Cup wins.
An officer fell to the ground after appearing to get into a scuffle with a protester (protesters clashing with police pictured)
Sydneysiders pictured watching the race that stops the nation at the Harbour View Hotel in The Rocks