Melbourne anti-lockdown protests fizzle out as daily infections hit pandemic high

SYDNEY — Melbourne’s streets were largely quiet on Thursday after three days of anti-lockdown protests, with hundreds of police officers on patrol in the city to prevent another rally as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Victoria hit a daily pandemic record.

Police in central Melbourne were checking people’s reasons for being outside, footage on social media showed, after a violent protest on Wednesday in Australia’s second-largest city resulted in more than 200 arrests.

A vaccination center at the Melbourne Town Hall would be shut until Monday after several of its staff were physically and verbally abused on their way to work, operator Cohealth said on Thursday.

“Why would you abuse, as I’m told, why would you spit on people who are doing that sort of work?” Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing in Melbourne, the state capital. “That is ugly, that is uncalled for.”

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in the city of 5 million since officials earlier this week ordered a two-week closure of building sites and made vaccines mandatory for construction workers to limit the spread of the virus. — Reuters

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