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Australia Covid: Arrests at anti-lockdown protests

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Demonstrations have taken place in Australian cities against tight restrictions imposed to tackle a rise in Covid cases.

Thousands gathered in Sydney, with smaller protests held in Melbourne and Brisbane.

People chanted “freedom” as they marched through the centre of Sydney. Officers said they had made 57 arrests.

Australian governments have re-imposed lockdowns across the country amid a surge in new infections.

The arrival of the highly contagious Delta variant has challenged the country’s previous strategy of border closures, quarantine programmes and snap lockdowns which helped keep cases low.

Vaccination rates remain the lowest among developed nations, with fewer than 14% of people jabbed.

On Saturday thousands of people marched to the centre of Sydney through the suburb of Haymarket.

New South Wales (NSW) health authority had moments ago declared the area a Covid hotspot, public broadcaster ABC News reports.

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.

SourceBBC

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