A Covid conspiracy leader has been charged after clashing with police during violent protests as the city was shut down for the fourth time.
Former professional cage fighter Nick Patterson, 38, was arrested after protests in the CBD and Narre Warren with photos of him having a cut on his forehead and claiming overzealous police dislocated his shoulder.
Patterson, who is a member of the anti-lockdown group Australian Peacemakers, faces more than 20 charges and was held in custody in Dandenong when his supporters blocked police telephone lines to monitor his well-being.
The Narre Warren protest on Saturday in which a number of people clashed with the police
Police line up against demonstrators at Narre Warren in
Video of a protest against Victoria’s lockdown restrictions in Narre Warren on Saturday showed Patterson leading a crowd in prayer with his right arm in a sling.
The group, who appeared peaceful and played Christian music through loudspeakers, was ordered by the police to proceed.
Dozens of police officers then formed a barrier and led the group away from the area across a large park as protesters chanted and filmed the heavily armed police.
At one point, a police officer pointed at a protester who was then tackled to the ground.
Patterson and his Australian Peacemakers group claim the lockdown is a human rights violation.
Before Patterson’s arrest in North Melbourne earlier in the day following another protest in Flagstaff Gardens, he was pictured wearing a mask – required in Victoria as part of the lockdown – and berating police officers
The moment officers arrested Patterson, seen behind the police horse, after he allegedly assaulted officers during an earlier protest. He claims they dislocated his arm during the arrest
Patterson had cuts to his face during a 45-minute rant against authorities on his YouTube channel on Sunday
Before Patterson’s arrest in North Melbourne earlier in the day following another protest in Flagstaff Gardens, he was pictured wearing a mask – required in Victoria as part of the lockdown – and berating police officers.
The police have confirmed that the Australian the 20 charges against the 38-year-old stemmed from protests in Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday.
The charges include six counts of resisting police, three counts of intentionally causing serious injury, four counts of assaulting police, three counts of recklessly causing serious injury, three counts of unlawful assault, affray and two counts of assaulting police. violating the instructions of the health officer.
He was arrested again on Monday and was remanded in custody on Wednesday to appear in court.
Pastor Paul Furlong was also arrested for holding an illegal church service – gatherings are banned under the state lockdown – as part of the Narre Warren protest.
Victoria registered three new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday – the fifth day of the state’s seven-day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – bringing the latest outbreak to 54 active infections.
Anti-lockdown protesters in the Melbourne CBD over the weekend (pictured)
Police detain a protester in Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens, Saturday, May 29, 2021
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed that two of the new infections are close contacts with positive cases, while the other is not yet directly linked.
State Covid test commander Jeroen Weimar said the man lives near Stratton Finance in Port Melbourne, which has had a number of positive cases.
“He’s known for the number of coffee shops there are also frequented by Stratton Finance employees…that seems enough to transmit the infection,” he said.
Mr Weimar said there have been at least four cases of “stranger to stranger transmission” in this outbreak.
“People are strolling past each other in a small shop, they’re going to put out houses, they’re looking at phones in a Telstra store,” he said.
‘Relatively speaking, this is a very fleeting contact. They don’t know each other’s names and that’s very different from what we’ve seen before.’
While stressing no decision has been made, Mr Foley said evidence of the increased infectivity and faster spread of the Indian variant would play a role in a final call to extend the lockdown beyond Thursday.
A woman is detained by Melbourne police in an anti-lockdown protest as the city goes into phase three restrictions