Horrifying footage has emerged of angry protesters in Sydney attacking police and hurling pot plants at officers on horseback as anti-lockdown rallies across the country take a violent turn.
Fifty-seven people have been arrested during the protests on Saturday which saw tens of thousands of maskless residents storm the streets of the city’s CBD demanding an end to lockdown with various brawls breaking out.
Frenzied crowds were heard screaming ‘you serve us!’ to police while some have been filmed crash tackling officers into a garden bed in the middle of a street.
As many as five officers struggled to take down one protester before carrying him away in handcuffs as crowds became increasingly more violent and abusive.
A group of mounted police officers trying to disperse the crowds tried to dodge the several pot plants and water bottles being thrown at them as the swarms of protesters refused to back down.
The demonstrations, which were also seen in Melbourne and Brisbane, are a response to Covid lockdowns imposed in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, with more than half the country’s 25million people ordered to stay at home over an outbreak which began in Sydney’s east.
But there are now fears the reckless protesters could lead to a devastating Covid super spreader event.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott labelled those in the rallies as ‘boofheads’ and said 90 had been fined across the state with more arrests expected as the day goes on.
One man with blood dripping from his nose is seen being walked away in handcuffs during violent anti-lockdown protests in Sydney on Saturday
Police were forced to crash tackle many protesters to the ground during the rallies in Sydney
One horrifying video showed the reckless protesters hurling pot plants towards mounted police in Sydney’s CBD
A woman sobs while being led out of Victoria Park by two policemen during violent protests in Sydney
One officer had to hold down a protester in Sydney’s Victoria Park as anti-lockdown rallies escalated around the country
Another protester flanked by police officers is arrested during rallies over the weekend on Sydney
One protestor tried his luck to escape police during a rally in Melbourne but the reckless man was eventually tackled to the ground
Police had no choice but to carry one man into custody after a brazen performance during Melbourne’s anti-lockdown rally
‘What we saw today was 3,500 very selfish boofheads — people that thought the law didn’t apply to them,’ he said.
‘If we don’t see a [Covid] spike in the areas these protesters came from in the next week I’ll be very, very surprised,’ Elliott said.
‘It was just a whole lot of halfwits.’
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also unleashed on the protesters and said punishments would be handed down to those who broke the law.
‘I am utterly disgusted by the illegal protesters in the City today whose selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us’ said Ms Berejiklian.
‘The protestors have shown utter contempt for their fellow citizens who are currently doing it tough.
‘I want to thank the brave police officers who put their own safety on the line to ensure the protest action ceased.’
The police commissioner also said a team of 22 detectives would be working tirelessly to identify as many of the illegal protesters as possible.
One vile protester is believed to have shamefully punched a police horse in the mouth.
Frenzied crowds were also heard shouting ‘freedom’ and anti-vaccine conspiracy slogans swarmed Haymarket in Sydney’s city centre from midday on Saturday, just moments after NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty declared the area a virus hotspot.
Some carried signs with disturbing messages such as ‘no tests, no cases, no lockdown’ while one woman proudly donned a jumper with the words ‘Covid is a scam’ knitted across it.
Others held signs high above their heads urging Australians to ‘wake up’ and ‘get off your knees’, while another cardboard poster declared the message: ‘The new world order is the real virus’.
One group of five protesters, all who wouldn’t be named, told Daily Mail Australia they’d travelled from the Covid-ravaged south-west of Sydney for the rally.
‘We don’t give a f*** mate, this lockdown is killing us,’ one said.
Chaos in Sydney: Tens of thousands swarmed George Street in the CBD for the anti-lockdown protest on Saturday
The streets of Melbourne were flooded with protesters, with some letting off orange flares as others clashed with police
Essential exercise? Two women wearing activewear were spotted in the middle of a chanting crowd in Victoria Park, where the rally began before moving through to the CBD
Thousands turned out in Sydney and Melbourne (pictured) demanding an end to Covid-19 lockdowns
One woman in Sydney is seen proudly holding a sign which reads: ‘The new world order is the real virus’
Another Sydneysider proudly donned a homemade jumper with the words ‘Covid is a scam’ knitted across it
One man in Sydney was seen urging Australians to ‘wake up and get off your knees’ during reckless protests on Saturday
One woman climbed onto the top of a Woolworths store to demonstrate her ridiculous views on Covid and lockdowns
One maskless woman appears to be enjoying herself during the anti-lockdown protest in Sydney
A horde of residents donned ‘freedom of choice’ t-shirts during the rally on Saturday. There are fears the protests across the country could spark a huge Covid super spreader event
More ralliers climbed on top of a store with one bizarrely wearing a Gladys Berejiklian mask while they expressed their ridiculous views
Mounted police and riot squad officers were seen trying to contain chanting crowds and direct the flow of protesters near Broadway as traffic backed up along the city’s busiest road.
Dozens of protesters climbed the roof of a Woolworths store and nearby train station, some holding signs reading: ‘Western Sydney Lives Matter’.
The group had also hung up a banner reading ‘Freedom’.
Police told the crowd gathered outside Town Hall about 2.40pm that they need to disperse if they ‘don’t want to get pepper sprayed’.
One Sydney resident took to Twitter about midday to say she witnessed protesters and police clashing outside her house.
‘Stepped outside my house in Chippendale five mins ago … assuming this is an anti-lockdown protest that police diverted from Broadway,’ the woman wrote.
On more than one occasion things turned ugly with protesters left bleeding as they tried to defy police officers and several trying their luck at fighting them off.
One man attempted to run away from an officer in Melbourne before he was eventually dragged down to the ground.
An angry crowd went so far as to throw ink at one policeman with photos showing the officer’s uniform covered in a deep blue tinge.
Police confirmed they made a number of arrests at the wild protest in Sydney which began at Victoria Park
A line of police officers outside Flinders Street station in Melbourne faced off against enraged protesters
Protesters were met by mounted police outside Town Hall in Sydney (pictured) with no group prepared to back down
The protesters in their thousands make their way through the Sydney CBD on Saturday afternoon (pictured)
The crowds threw ink at one officer (pictured) as he was stationed next to the a barrier in the Sydney CBD
Thousands also gathered in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday afternoon – with flares lit outside Victoria’s Parliament House.
Police formed a barrier on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in the CBD where they held back the crowd chanting ‘you work for us’.
Mounted officers told the group to disperse with a number of protesters being detained.
In Brisbane around 7,500 people turned out the to the city’s botanic gardens refusing to wear masks in an anti-lockdown protest – despite the city not under stay-at-home orders.
A car rally is also planned for locked-down Adelaide, with police warning they will make arrests over unlawful activity.
Stunned Sydneysiders took to social media to to describe the protests in their city.
‘Protest stretches right down Broadway! Absolutely massive turnout,’ one demonstrator said.
Shocked onlookers feared the rally could spell disaster for Sydney’s Delta outbreak.
‘The Sydney anti-lockdown protest is a superspreader event in the making. If the sheer number of people wasn’t enough, everyone is also screaming at the top of their lungs (without masks) and potentially spreading droplets all over the damn place,’ one said.
‘These people are protesting the lockdowns. Obviously because they don’t want to be Locked down,’ said another.
‘So they decide to protest, breathing on each other, spreading covid, causing the positive cases and spread to rise, which therefore extends the lockdown they are protesting?’
One person added the most well behaved of Sydney’s protests appeared to be in the centre of the city.
‘Actual mostly peaceful anti lockdown protests going on in the heart of Sydney right now,’ the woman wrote to Twitter.
One woman held her phone out to film the chaotic scenes in Victoria Park as protesters clashed with police
Protesters and police clash in the Sydney CBD with reports police had deployed pepper spray as the crowd grew increasingly unruly (pictured)
Protesters were seen in Melbourne holding anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown signs, including ‘I don’t consent’ and ‘Covid is a scam’
The thousand strong crowd of protesters outside Melbourne’s iconic Flinder Streets station (pictured)
Flares were let off in the streets of Melbourne as the frenzied crowd continued to march in the city’s CBD
Anti-vax and proud: Some of the protesters were seen wearing ‘unvaxxed and unafraid’ jumpers
Protesters were chanting ‘freedom’ as they marched through Sydney streets and held placards – the majority not wearing masks or practicing any kind of social distancing.
Some of those attending were also reportedly setting off fireworks and brandishing fire twirling sticks.
A father and son from Fairfield told Daily Mail Australia they’d travelled from Sydney’s Covid ground-zero to the CBD to be a part of the rally, insisting they ‘aren’t scared of police’.
Another protester, wearing a face shield, said he wasn’t anti-mask but was anti-lockdown.
‘I’m against lockdowns, they’re killing my business,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘That’s why we’re all here.’
Another person said their friend was pepper sprayed by police.
Thousands of protesters not wearing masks stand in front of a line of police in front of Town Hall in Sydney (pictured)
There were reports protesters had fireworks and that police (pictured) were deploying pepper spray
The protesters (pictured) marched from Victoria Park to Town Hall in the CBD were they were met by mounted police
Protesters sung out the Australian national anthem as the near 10,000-strong made their way past Central Station.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged Sydneysiders to avoid attending the rally on Saturday.
‘We live in a democracy and normally I am certainly one who supports people’s right to protest, but I actually think it is really silly,’ he said on Saturday.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys earlier warned a lockdown protest in Sydney would be ‘disastrous’ .
‘It’s not really the time for people to come together closely, to exercise somewhat they would think was their democratic right and it may well be,’ he said.
‘NSW Police are in a position where they will try and work with the organisers and the specific group leaders to make sure that they comply with the public health orders, and in fact we don’t get a situation where we end up with a spreading event in Sydney which would, of course, be disastrous’.
One woman in Melbourne was pictured handing out flowed to the line of police in the city’s CBD
One man appears pleased with himself after being escorted from the protests by police (pictured) on Saturday
‘At the present time we’ve got cases going through the roof, and we have people thinking that it’s OK to get out there and possibly be close to each other at a demonstration. I just think that’s a bit silly.’
The protesters in Sydney marched from Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district on Saturday.
They broke through a police barrier to continue down George St but were stopped at King St by a heavy police presence, including mounted police and riot officers.
Protesters threw plastic bottles and plants taken from the street at officers, and several arrests have been made.
Signs carried by the protesters call for ‘freedom’ and ‘the truth’.
The protest comes as COVID-19 case numbers in NSW reached another record high since the first wave in 2020.
Some 163 new local cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, up from 136 the day before.
Greater Sydney has been locked down for the past four weeks, with residents only able to leave home with a reasonable excuse.
There are fears the dense crowds in Sydney (pictured) and Melbourne would cause the virus case number to surge
Melbourne CBD traffic was brought to a halt as the protesters flooded through the streets (pictured)
The crowd in Melbourne (pictured) lit flares and waved flags as they marched near Flinders Street station (pictured)
In Melbourne, hundreds of police officers are stationed in CBD amid concerns it could thwart Victoria’s efforts to emerge from restrictions.
A rally involving a few hundred people could involve flares and the blocking of an inner-city bridge, Chief Commissioner of Police Shane Patton said on Friday.
‘Where you have the vast majority of Victorians doing the right thing, sitting at home, it’s such a sense of entitlement to say ‘I can go out and protest just because I disagree’ and potentially breach all of the CHO guidelines and spread the virus,’ he told 3AW.
Signs were displayed the crowd including many saying they ‘unmasked and unvaccinated’ (pictured)
Under Sydney’s current lockdown public gatherings are not allowed with outdoor exercise limited to groups of two
Mounted police in Sydney with hi-vis and protective headgear which was also fitted to their horses (pictured)
Police made a number of arrests on Saturday (pictured) with the crowds breaking Public Health Orders
Police escort one man away from the crowd (pictured). They protest was held illegally as no authorisation was submitted and crowds were in breach of health directives
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews labelled the idea of protesting lockdown ‘ridiculous’.
‘Protest against this virus by staying at home, following the rules and getting out of lockdown,’ he said.
Victoria has added a new category to its interstate travel permit system, designating all of NSW a COVID-19 ‘extreme risk zone’, as the southern state recorded 12 new locally acquired coronavirus cases.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton made the ‘extreme risk zone’ declaration late on Friday, effective from 11.59pm.
‘If people enter Victoria from an extreme risk zone without an exemption, they will be put on a return flight or placed in 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine. Exemptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances,’ the state health department said.
Victorians who have been in NSW in the past 14 days and are wishing to return home can only do so with an exemption or other valid permit, such as a Specified Worker Permit.
The crowd in Sydney started the day at Victoria Park (pictured) and then made their way into the city
One man displays a Eureka Stockade flag as he marches through Victoria Park (pictured)
Protesters as Victoria Park held signs demanding freedom from lockdowns imposed to kerb an outbreak of Coronavirus
Officers escort a man through Victoria Park on Saturday about midday (pictured)
Multiple arrests were made (pictured) with the crowd growing increasingly unruly as the day went on
Some of the group held signs reading ‘No tests, no cases, no lockdown’ as the city struggles to contain an outbreak of the delta variant of Covid
Red zone designations still apply to the ACT, South Australia and Norfolk Island.
The order follows Premier Daniel Andrews’ unsuccessful pitch at national cabinet on Friday to put a ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney.
The concept, involving a police guard around the city to stop anyone leaving, was used during Melbourne’s lengthy second lockdown in 2020, in order to protect regional areas and other states from infection.
However after the national cabinet meeting Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued such a strategy was unnecessary because stay-at-home rules were enough to rein in the virus.
Two police in masks talk to a woman attending the rally on Saturday (pictured)
Sydney’s streets were filled with protesters many of whom held signs or wore t-shirts that said ‘Covid is a scam’ (pictured)
Some of the protesters wore masks but were not practicing social distancing (pictured)
Victoria recorded 12 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections on Saturday, 10 of which were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period. All infections are linked to current outbreaks.
The figures continue the state’s encouraging downward trend in new diagnoses – having recorded 14 cases on Friday and 26 on Thursday.
The numbers come with 19,281 vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours in Victoria and 39,846 COVID tests conducted.
Victoria’s current set of restrictions – its fifth lockdown – are scheduled to be eased on July 27 but Mr Andrews says health authorities want more data before making a decision.
The protests began at Victoria Park with some of those attending being led away by police early on in the rally (pictured)
The crowd meets a blockade of police officers some with horses (pictured)
A man protesting the lockdown brought in to contain the spread of the delta variant of Covid is led away by police at Victoria Park (pictured)
A line of police in Melbourne stands their ground against protesters on Flinders Street (pictured)
Police (pictured) were aware of the protests beforehand but they had no approval lodged after the application was withdrawn
SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 30
Those living in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong must abide by the following:
Masks are mandatory in all indoor settings outside the home, including offices and apartment buildings
Residents can travel only 10km from their homes
– Exercise and gather in groups of two while outside
– Only one member of each household per day allowed to leave the home for essential shopping
– No browsing in supermarkets and retail businesses. Shop only for essential items
– Funerals are capped at 10, weddings are banned
– No car pooling with other households when going out for exercise
There is no curfew but a stay at home order applies, with only four reasons to leave your home
Schools are closed with at-home learning in place, but no child will be turned away if they need to attend in person
The new rules are in addition to the stay-at-home orders already in place until July 30, which include only leaving the home to:
*shop for essential items (one person only)
*give care and compassionate reasons (one visitor only)
*exercise or for work or education that cannot be conducted remotely
People in Fairfield, Liverpool or Canterbury in Sydney’s southwest are advised to stay home, unless:
*shop for essential items (one person only)
*give care and compassionate reasons (one visitor only)
*For work unless it is an essential service, such as health workers. Businesses must give employees the option of working from home.
* Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, namely receiving a negative Covid test every three days.
The rest of NSW (including regional areas) is subject to the following restrictions:
- Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn
- No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
- The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)
When does the lockdown end?
- Stay at home orders apply to Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Friday, July 30, 2021