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Incredible footage shows Aussies fill streets as protests, chaos escalate amid restrictive mandates

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Australians are becoming increasingly restive amid a series of COVID-related vaccine mandates and lockdowns, including a protest in the city of Melbourne that turned violent and led to the destruction of a construction union office, according to reports and videos posted online.

The Guardian reported Tuesday that police fired pepper balls and stun grenades at protesters who had turned violent on the streets of the country’s second-largest city, protesting a never-ending remain-at-home order that has lingered for more than 233 days.

Construction workers, especially, have clashed with police decked out in riot gear for two straight days, “smashing police car windows, throwing bottles and stones, and damaging property,” the outlet noted.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 protesters who had gathered in the city early Tuesday morning, most of them young men began marching across the city, snarling traffic and closing a major bridge. Protesters were also shouting slogans like “F**k the jab!” and “Every day,” the latter a promise to continue demonstrating until the city lifts its COVID restrictions.

According to police, at least 62 demonstrators were arrested and three officers were injured along with a reporter. Shane Patton, the police commissioner in Victoria, the state where Melbourne is located, said his officers were forced to deploy pepper balls, smoke, and stinger grenades — which expel rubber pellets on detonation — as well as foam baton rounds in order to disperse crowds.

“These crowd control equipment munitions were necessary … because we can’t allow this type of conduct to go on,” Patton told reporters.

The Guardian reported that video clips showed police vehicles attempting to leave an area come under attack by a mob, some of whom heaved bottles and smashed car windows before being moved back by a line of riot officers who had weapons raised.

Other videos posted online showed elements of the protests as well.

In one video, a police officer appears to agree with a protester that the ongoing lockdowns should end while explaining that he is powerless to do anything about it because it’s his job to enforce the laws, even those he doesn’t like.

The protester heard in the video, however, takes issue with that explanation and suggests that he and his family are suffering shortages of food while experiencing unemployment as well.

Other clips showed various aspects of the demonstrations and protests taking place in the city. The following clip shows a man denouncing communism before the crowd chants, “Freedom! Freedom!”

**Warning for language

The following video purports to show protesters chase police officers away. *Language warning:

Patton, however, remained defiant.

“We will stop this protest,” he said, according to The Guardian. “We will then step back and investigate and hold those to account who need to be held to account. The message is clear – you can’t come in and break the law. We will hold you to account. Crowds like this are for cowards.”

He went on to say that his department has obtained “intelligence” that additional protests are being planned for Wednesday while asking people to stay at home under the edict and suggesting that officers are preparing to step up their response.

“No one benefits from this type of conduct, we will be out in force again, I can assure you of that,” he told reporters. “I won’t disclose what our tactics will be tomorrow, but they will be different. Please just stay home, we do not want a confrontation.”

Jon Dougherty

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