Melbourne residents have been greeted by a Grand Final parade of law enforcement officers as police fight to get the upper hand over protesters.
In disturbing scenes, the Victoria Police attacked anyone who entered the city’s iconic Bourke Street Mall on Friday morning.
Hundreds of officers swarmed the streets and surrounded key monuments nearly a week after the chaotic protests began, led by traditions revolting over vaccine mandates and spurred on by anti-vaxxer rioters.
Just two years ago, on the eve of the AFL Grand Final, the city was a sea of color for the annual parade – but today the dominant shade was navy blue.
People engaged in their business were stopped, searched and questioned about their reason for being in the city.
A woman is detained as police patrol Melbourne’s CBD as she talks to pedestrians and makes several arrests to try to stop planned protests
In disturbing scenes, the Victoria Police attacked anyone who entered the Bourke Street Mall on Friday to question them about why they were there. In the photo: a woman is arrested
A woman was handcuffed and taken by several agents in Melbourne
Victorian police officers speak to a person ahead of a planned demonstration against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in Melbourne
Victorian police officers in gloves and body cameras detain a man in the CBD
Daily Mail Australia saw a woman from leafy South Yarra confront police after being asked for identification.
She was one of the lucky ones who left on foot and not in the back of a police van.
Others berated the police when they were handcuffed and taken away after coughing up no good reason to be in the CBD.
Police remained vigilant for fear that protesters will gather in the city.
Just two years ago: The Grand Final parade in Melbourne before Richmond beat GWS in 2019
Richmond fans lined the streets after their team won the grand final in 2019
Officers have been seen as far as Collingwood, guarding buildings along Johnston Street.
A large turnout of protesters was expected after the lack of a demonstration on Thursday.
Despite promises to protest every day, it appears that the rallies could instead take place “every other day.”
Police gathered at Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens at 2 p.m. after a protester livestreamed a call for people to gather there.
The man was promptly arrested before someone else showed up to take up his ill-advised call.
Mortal protesters had alerted the police through several live streams, which pinpointed their exact location.
Many of the protesters, numbering less than 100, escaped.
There are fears that yet another protest will crop up, including somewhere in or around Melbourne’s CBD.
epa09484629 Victorian police officers detain a person ahead of a planned demonstration against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in Melbourne
The police helicopter hovered over us, ready to locate any resistance
Police patrol Melbourne’s CBD, including horses after days of protests in the CBD
Large police presence seen during major operation to disrupt planned Hi-Vis Anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne
Police remained vigilant in the CBD, with squadrons running down random side streets.
The police helicopter hovered over us, ready to locate any resistance.
Queen Victoria Market was dotted with police, who made up the bulk of her patronage at lunchtime.
Exits to train stations were blocked, and the police were eager to ban any kind of gatherings before they started.
The scenes contrasted sharply with the Grand Final day of 2019 when the Richmond Tigers took on the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
Giants fans arriving from Sydney for the big day wore orange team scarves and held signs saying ‘fight to the end’ in preparation for the season decider.
False undercover cops and traditions bickering over traitors in their midst: Extraordinary reports reveal why Melbourne’s antivaxx protests died out after plunging the city into chaos for days
By Aidan Wondracz
The scenes came as the anti-vaccination protesters turned on each other, accusing members of working as undercover police officers and sabotaging their meetings in a series of fiery text messages.
The online bickering eventually led to protesters failing to organize a mass rally in Victoria’s capital on Thursday.
The poor turnout came despite protesters promising to hold demonstrations every day in support of construction workers who have been ordered to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Text messages exchanged between protesters in private Telegram group chats revealed a culture of mistrust that ultimately left protesters unable to agree on a venue to host their next rally.
The online bickering eventually led to protesters failing to stage a massive rally for the fourth day in a row in the Victorian capital on Thursday.
Text messages exchanged between protesters revealed a culture of mistrust that ultimately left protesters unable to agree on a location to host their next rally
Some accused other group members of working as undercover agents and monitoring their conversations
Some group members accused each other of working as undercover agents and monitoring their conversations.
“How many agents are in this group chat?” a person sent a message.
Another protester replied: ‘Probably the same amount that is in the protest is causing problems. I’ve picked a few.’
A protester photographed another group member they believed was secretly working for the police.
The photo sparked a heated online debate with members of the group chat exchanging insults.
“Lol damn idiot. Stop making shit up, she’s not a cop,” one wrote.
Another protester said: ‘Someone who takes away spammers, please. Can we keep this group protest and only protest support.’
The protesters also could not agree on the location of their next meeting.
Locations changed from Yarra Park to Exhibition Street vaccination center to St Kilda Beach and Chapel Street.
More than 600 protesters have been arrested since the demonstrations began on Saturday.
The Department of Health confirmed the protester was among the crowd at Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance, where dramatic scenes took place on Wednesday.
While there is a very small chance that Covid can spread outside, transmission can occur when an infected person is around others for extended periods of time – especially without masks.
Panic has now gripped the state’s health system with fears that a flood of new cases could follow after hundreds descended on the war memorial yesterday and about 2,000 marched through the CBD on Tuesday.
“Public health investigations are underway,” the department said in a statement.
“We urge protesters to get tested if they develop Covid-like symptoms, no matter how mild.”
A large crowd also stormed the CFMEU headquarters on Monday with construction workers outraged by mandatory coronavirus vaccine requirements on job sites.
Singing ‘every day’ from the shrine, hundreds, mostly men without masks, some still in high-visibility clothing as in days earlier, marched through town to the war memorial on Wednesday