Public transport into Melbourne’s CBD will grind to a halt on Saturday in an effort to prevent an upcoming anti-lockdown rally.
According to Chief Commissioner Shane Patton, transport will be stopped from 8 am and will resume again from 2 pm.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” Patton said.
“The risk is so great from a convergence of thousands of people, as we saw recently.”
He continued and said that anyone caught entering the Melbourne CBD would be fined a whopping $5500 for breaking the law.
During his announcement on Wednesday afternoon, Patton warned protestors that they will do everything they can to prevent people from entering the CBD unlawfully. Even providing barricades, traffic blocks and police patrols.
“We will have over 2000 police involved in this. It’s a significant operation and a huge demand on police resources,” he said.
“We realise people are fatigued and this is a significant step for us. We didn’t take this lightly but given the circumstances and where we are with Covid, we cannot afford to allow transmission to occur.”
The announcement comes weeks after a previous Melbourne anti-lockdown rally being described as one of the ‘most violent the city has seen in 20 years’.
The first lockdown rally saw more than 4,000 people storm the CBD, where unmasked protesters let off flares, yelled slogans and blasted music as they marched through the city.
More than 200 people were arrested from this rally and at least 19 of them were taken to court, while two people face assault charges.
With the chaos of the last anti-lockdown rally, there’s no surprise that Patton wants to make sure everyone is being as safe as possible.
“I’m hopeful we can prevent it occurring because we don’t want to be in any confrontation at all,” Patton said.