Police have swarmed on protesters gathering in Melbourne as anti-lockdown rallies reach its sixth day.
Hundreds of officers arrested a dozen demonstrators at the St Kilda foreshore on Saturday in a rally that peaked up to 200 people.
Protesters gathered in the inner beachside suburb chanting slogans like ‘together, united, we’ll never be divided’ and ‘we are not afraid’.
Other participants in the crowd were heard shouting ‘f*** Dan Andrews’ from megaphones.
Police arrested dozens of anti-lockdown protesters who gathered at St Kilda in Melbourne on Saturday
A heavy police presence was seen as busloads of officers arrived to the inner beachside suburb
The group spilled out onto Beach Road as a police helicopter hovered above the rally and a roadblock set-up outside Luna Park.
More than 20 public response order units lined the outbound lanes as officers formed a giant wall around demonstrators along the beach.
A group of officers placed several men in handcuffs before they were lead away from the area.
Victoria police handcuffed several men as roadblocks were setup outside Melbourne’s Luna Park
A police helicopter hovered above the rally that attracted up to 200 demonstrators
Protesters gathered in the inner beachside suburb chanting slogans like ‘together, united, we’ll never be divided’ and ‘we are not afraid’
Busloads of officers had arrived to the foreshore just before midday on Saturday after organisers summoned protesters for the ‘Millions March for Freedom’ rally.
But defiant anti-lockdown participants later conceded defeat due to the heavy police presence after days of chaos in the CBD.
Secret Telegram messages seen by Daily Mail Australia from a group run by key organisers of the demonstrations thank those involved but admit the week ended in a loss.
‘We want you to know we are so proud of everyone in our community, new and old, for their bravery to stand up for their rights in the face of such adversity,’ the message read.
‘Don’t ever forget that we made history that day.
Telegram messages seen by Daily Mail Australia from the Freedom Melbourne Rally group run by key organisers of the demonstrations thank those involved but admit the week ended in a loss
‘You don’t have to win every battle to win the war. Truth always wins in the end.
‘We give our sincerest thanks to everyone who showed up over the last week in defence of freedom.
‘In the long way to reclaim our rights, we will inevitably suffer losses. Today was one of those days where we were outnumbered and unsuccessful in coming together.’
The violent scenes in Melbourne kicked off on Monday when construction workers angry about vaccination mandates mobbed the headquarters of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in the CBD.
Hours later Premier Dan Andrews announced he was shutting down Victoria’s $22billion construction industry for two weeks from September 21.
The closure across Metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, the Surf Coast, Ballarat and Mitchell Shire further angered workers, who marched through the city and clashed with police.
On Tuesday, seething anti-vaxxer protesters chased police and pelted squad cars with cans as rallies on the streets descended into chaos yet again.
Footage showed tradesmen in hi-vis clothing kicking police cars in the CBD as thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Victoria’s Parliament House.
A Channel 7 TV reporter covering the march was assaulted by a protester and also had bags filled with urine thrown at him.
By the end of the working week, the protests were smaller in numbers in Melbourne – but arrests still followed (pictured, a woman talking to police at All Nations Park in Northcote)
Tensions have been high all week in Melbourne’s CBD, with residents protesting mandatory vaccinations for building sector workers (pictured)
The riot squad (pictured) were called in this week as the protest took a violent turn in Melbourne’s CBD
Thousands of construction workers and anti-vaxxers took to the streets – many of them distraught after tradesman Stipe Lijovic took his own life at a construction site earlier in the day.
Demonstrators then marched to block the West Gate Bridge – a major freeway into Melbourne’s CBD – which brought traffic to a standstill during peak hour.
Wednesday saw yet another protest, with one man later hospitalised with Covid symptoms after attending the rally.
By the end of the working week, protest numbers had reduced – but Covid case numbers in Victoria are surging.
The state recorded 733 new cases and one death, a woman in her 80s, from Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
Friday also saw more than 200 people arrested following unlawful protest activity in Melbourne’s CBD and inner north.
Riot police were deployed at Northcote Plaza and All Nations Park in Northcote on Friday (pictured) during a major police operation to disrupt another lockdown protest
The protest in Northcote on Friday saw 31 arrests, with other people also spoken to by police (pictured)