Agitated people chanted "freedom" as they paraded through Sydney's central business district. Officers reported making 57 arrests


Anti-lockdown protests hit the streets of Australian cities


Anti-lockdown protests hit the streets of Australian cities

Agitated people held demonstrations in various Australian cities in opposition to the stringent restrictions implemented in response to an increase in Covid cases.

Thousands of people assembled in Sydney, with smaller demonstrations taking place in Melbourne and Brisbane, reports the BBC.

Agitated people chanted “freedom” as they paraded through Sydney’s central business district. Officers reported making 57 arrests.

In response to an increase in new infections, Australian governments have re-imposed lockdowns around the country.

The emergence of the extremely contagious Delta variety has called into question the country’s prior approach of border closures, quarantine programs, and emergency lockdowns, which had helped keep cases to a minimum.

Vaccination rates in wealthy countries continue to be the lowest, with fewer than 14 percent of individuals immunized.

Thousands of protesters marched from Haymarket, a Sydney suburb, to the city center on Saturday.

According to public broadcaster ABC News, the New South Wales (NSW) health department just named the area a Covid hotspot.

Some held placards reading “Drop your mask, raise your voice” and “Wake Up Australia”.

Protesters blocked roads and gathered outside Sydney’s town hall. One group threw bottles at mounted officers.

“The NSW Police Force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, however, today’s protest is in breach of the current Covid-19 Public Health Orders,” a statement from the force read.

Smaller events also took place in Melbourne, where people lit flares outside Parliament House, and in Brisbane, at the Botanic Gardens.

Some 13 million Australians – about half its population – are now back in lockdown.

Sydney has now been under lockdown for four weeks, but continues to see cases rise.

NSW officials announced a record increase of 163 new infections on Saturday.

State health minister Brad Hazzard echoed calls by premier Gladys Berejiklian for other states to send extra vaccine doses to NSW.

“If it gets worse here in New South Wales, it could actually create massive problems for the whole country,” Mr Hazzard reportedly said.

“New South Wales is the gateway to the rest of Australia.”

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country has overall recorded 32,594 cases and 916 deaths.

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