Coronavirus

Dozens attend anti-coronavirus lockdown protest in regional Victoria

Protesters have gathered to protest against the government's lockdown rules. Source: Facebook

Dozens of people have flouted the government’s stay at home orders and gathered for an anti-lockdown protest in the eastern Victorian town of Trafalgar.

Dozens of Victorians in the West Gippsland town of Trafalgar have gathered to protest against the coronavirus lockdown, mimicking groups in the US and Germany.

The protest on Anzac day on Saturday is believed to be the first anti-lockdown protest in Australia since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Streamed on Facebook Live by a user going by the name of Topher Field, the protest claimed to attract at least 75 people.

He told the Herald Sun newspaper the group felt “bullied and threatened” by the government and “controlled into living lives of fear and withdrawing into our homes, stripped of our incomes and independence”.

Protesters held signs reading "End the Lockdown", "What did our ANZAC’s fight for?" and "How will we pay this back?"

Victoria Police, who were seen present at the protest said organisers of the protest would be fined.

"There is no excuse for deliberately flouting the restrictions of the Chief Health Officer, they need to be treated with the utmost seriousness and we cannot afford for people to be selfish," a police spokesperson told SBS News. 

The group gathered in a carpark, some wearing military service medals, before moving to a small park nearby to listen to speeches. 

The police present did not appear to move to break up the protest.

Protests against COVID-19 restrictions have become a regular feature across some parts of the US, with some protesters coming to rallies heavily armed.

In the German capital of Berlin, a weekly protest against the restrictions drew around 1,000 people and dozens of arrests.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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