Australia

Protesters plan ‘big rallies’ for grand final public holiday

Anti-lockdown protesters are threatening to hold “really big rallies” across Melbourne’s CBD during the city’s AFL grand final day public holiday.In an encrypted chat forum protesters have been using to communicate with each other during previous rallies, protest organisers said past action was “all leading up to something big on October 23”.“We are furious. It’s…

Anti-lockdown protesters are threatening to hold “really big rallies” across Melbourne’s CBD during the city’s AFL grand final day public holiday.

In an encrypted chat forum protesters have been using to communicate with each other during previous rallies, protest organisers said past action was “all leading up to something big on October 23”.

“We are furious. It’s time to act. We must start building for the 23rd immediately,” it said.

A map of Melbourne’s CBD showed three different “assembly areas” and the Shrine of Remembrance as the “main rally” point at 2pm on the Friday.

“Wait in the assembly areas until the rally points are revealed,” the chat said.

Restrictions are set to ease on October 19, but stubborn double-digit case numbers and a 14-day average still hovering too far above the safe threshold means the lockdown could be extended.

Victoria Police said they were aware of the protest planned for Friday, October 23.

“Victoria Police will continue to have a highly visible presence throughout the weekend to enforce all of the chief health officer directions, including the restrictions around gatherings,” a spokesperson said.

“We will maintain a strong capacity to respond to any potential breaches of the chief health officer directions at any point in time in both metropolitan and regional areas.”

In metropolitan Melbourne, no more than five people from two different households are able to gather, with the five kilometre radius rule still in place.

People can only meet up in groups of up to 10 in outdoor spaces while wearing a face covering, and social distancing in regional Victoria.

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