The protesters gathered on Peel Street chanting “peace and love” and “freedom” before they were plucked from the crowd invidivually and taken away for questioning as objects were thrown at heavily armed police in riot gear.
Protesters could be heard throughout shouting that the arrests were in breach of human rights with police attempting to put masks on those they led away.
Some stunned shoppers stood and watched on as police stood shoulder to shoulder in a ring of steel around the western side of the market with one distressed woman treated for shock outside a stand of bananas.
The protest came hours after a Melbourne woman filmed police pulling her from a car, sparking a fresh social media storm about the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.
In the lead-up to the protest, people arriving at Queen Victoria Market, including shoppers, were being stopped and asked for permitted worker permits.
Police, including plain-clothes officers, highway patrol and riot police, began arriving at Queen Victoria Market about 10am. At 10.50am, a man was arrested as car-loads of extra police and officers on horseback arrived.
One man wearing a red and black bandanna yelled at police he felt unsafe, before launching into a tirade about his views.
“Dude, I’m scared. I don’t even know how I’m going to pay this fine,” he yelled. “Heartless, soulless people. We’ve all lost faith.”
The man walked away from the market with an on-the-spot fine. Others sucked on lollipops while police questioned them on why they weren’t wearing masks.
More than half a dozen protesters had been arrested and taken away for questioning less than an hour into their protest.
A court on Friday heard the 43-year-old believed coronavirus is a “genetically engineered virus created by world banks to kill off weaker humans”.
The court heard police first arrested Mr Pecora for alleged breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions during a protest at the Shrine of Remembrance on August 22.
While Premier Daniel Andrews would not be drawn on whether police tactics should change after repeated protests, he said on Sunday that police did a “very good job yesterday in a challenging set of circumstances”.
“Protesting is selfish, protesting is stupid and protesting is dangerous [during the pandemic], and if you do it, you will be dealt with,” he said.
The protest came as police issued 200 fines to people breaking stage four ‘stay at home’ directions across the state in the 24 hours up to 12.30pm on Sunday.
More than 8580 vehicles were stopped by police at checkpoints, with nine people fined at these sites. One such incident caused a fresh social storm over enforcement after a social media post on Saturday night, in which Natalie Bonett claimed she was stopped by police at the vehicle checkpoint at Wallan, north of Melbourne.
In the video, which has been shared by thousands of people online, an officer asks the woman: “Are you going to state your name and address to me?”
He then asks Ms Bonett to step out of the car. After she refuses to leave the car, the officer calls to others and Ms Bonett complains that she is being questioned about having a phone charger that is sold “everywhere”.
The police officer replies: “That’s not the problem any more, the problem is you are not stating your name for me, could you get out of the car please?”
She again refuses, saying she “doesn’t feel safe” because the police officer is armed.
The police officer then says: “You are safe, don’t worry about that,” before opening the car door, unbuckling Ms Bonett’s seat belt and dragging her out of the car.
A man in the car can be heard yelling: “She’s got anxiety, relax, she’s sick!” as Ms Bonett screams.
On social media, the woman claimed four officers later “had their knees in my back and [I] couldn’t breathe”, as she was handcuffed.
“I am shaking and my blood is boiling,” she posted on Facebook.
Another video posted online, but subsequently deleted, showed Ms Bonett sitting on the ground handcuffed.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said officers spoke to Ms Bonett about her mobile phone “obstructing her view due to its position on the windscreen”, explaining that this was against the law.
After she did not remove the phone from her windscreen, she also refused to provide her name or her driver’s licence, according to police.
“The woman was warned that if she did not provide her details, she would be arrested. She still refused and was asked by police to get out of her car,” the spokeswoman said. “When she refused this request, she was taken from the car by officers and taken into custody.”
The 29-year-old from Wallan was released by police after her arrest and police said she was expected to be charged with driving with obscured vision, failing to produce a licence, failing to state her name and address, resisting arrest, assaulting police and offensive language.
“Victoria Police reminds all drivers that the Road Safety Act requires that they must state their name and address and produce their driver’s licence when requested to do so by a police officer,” the statement said.
Speaking about Ms Bonett’s situation, Mr Andrews said: “No one is entitled, when pulled over, to not provide their name or not provide their driver’s licence. All of that could have simply been avoided if the person had simply, after the fourth time she was asked, given her name.”
A Gembrook family who claimed they were heading to a hospital to sign documents did a u-turn out of the vehicle checkpoint after police said they would call the hospital to confirm the story.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the family were pulled over and said they were heading to Warragul Hospital, but the vehicle’s boot was “packed full of items”.
“Police said they would call the hospital to confirm their reason for travelling,” the spokeswoman said.
“The driver changed their mind, did a u-turn and headed home after being told they would be fined if their reason for travelling couldn’t be verified.”
A couple from Sale told police they had driven more than 185 kilometres to Dandenong because they “needed to buy specific vegetables that their baby liked”.
Fourty-eight people were given $1652 infringements for breaching Melbourne’s 8pm to 5am curfew.
Six men were caught drinking at Geelong home. When police arrived, the men jumped the back fence, but the home-owner was fined.
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A Victorian toddler has been killed in a devastating road collision police have labelled a “tragic accident”.
Spencer Roberts, who was 14 months old, died last night after escaping his home and crawling onto a service road in the Bendigo suburb of Kangaroo Flat, north west of Melbourne, where he was struck by a car.
Heartbreaking footage taken only hours before the accident was put on social media by Spencer’s mother, Stacey Winning, and shows the giggly young tot trying on a new pair of Nike shoes.
Ms Winning, along with Spencer’s dad Brad Roberts, can be heard encouraging their adorable boy to walk in his new shoes.
“Are you walking? Are you walking with your new shoes on? Just walk like normal baby boy,” Mr Roberts is heard saying.
A 56-year-old driver, who was not speeding or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, was travelling in a slip lane when police say he thought he hit an animal, about 7.30pm Wednesday night.
“The driver stopped after realising they hit an object. (He) didn’t realise it was a child and has gone to a premises and informed the parents he believed it was an animal that he struck. They’ve then realised it was a child,” Bendigo Highway Patrol Acting Senior Sergeant Dale Simm said.
They contacted emergency services and attempted to revive the toddler before he was taken to Bendigo Hospital where he later died.
The driver will not be charged over the horrible accident.
Acting Senior Sergeant Simm said welfare services were supporting the family and driver.
“It‘s just a tragic accident where the child has left the house quickly and come out on the road,” he said.
As Victoria reported another 24 lives lost to the virus on Wednesday and 149 new cases, travel giant Flight Centre joined the backlash against the government’s proposal to extend its state of emergency powers.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison struck a more conciliatory tone towards Premier Daniel Andrews after a stinging attack on Victoria’s performance in the pandemic the previous day.
The Premier shrugged off Mr Morrison’s comments about “unacceptable failures” by the Victorian government, with Mr Andrews saying he spoke and exchanged messages regularly with the Prime Minister.
In other developments on Wednesday, Victoria Police revealed it was investigating security firms hired for the state’s ill-fated hotel quarantine effort, while Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp insisted he did not receive an offer of Australian Defence Force help when the program was established.
Premier Daniel Andrews has endured a storm of criticism since announcing on Monday that he wanted a 12-month extension of Victoria’s state of emergency powers, which he says are needed to get through the prolonged crisis and would put the state in line with arrangements in other states, which are in effect open-ended.
But a year-long extension was a step too far for upper house crossbench MPs who have pledged to vote with the Coalition when Parliament returns next week and sink the government’s plans.
After key crossbench MP Fiona Patten drafted a compromise plan, based on the idea of a committee of predominantly non-Labor MPs to scrutinise the government’s pandemic response, Ms Mikakos put forward a counter-proposal on Wednesday.
Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed that Ms Mikakos suggested a six-month extension, with the government to produce the health advice each time it renewed its state of emergency powers every four weeks.
The minister, who needs four crossbench votes to pass the legislation, also offered to extend the term of the parliamentary committee, which has majority Labor membership, examining the government’s COVID-19 response.
Crossbenchers who spoke to The Age on Wednesday were cool on the government’s revised plan and the Coalition’s leader in the upper house, David Davis, was in no mood for compromise, saying he and his colleagues had always supported a pandemic oversight committee but it was no substitute for regular parliamentary sittings.
“We are very opposed to this government’s shutdown of Parliament and its avoidance of scrutiny,” Mr Davis said.
The AMA’s submission to the state parliamentary inquiry into the government’s response to the pandemic contains a lengthy list of accusations by AMA state president Julian Rait of government failures and mismanagement.
Dr Rait, who confirmed his support for the extension of the government’s emergency powers, said the decision to allow the Black Lives Matter rally in Melbourne in March was among the government’s “missteps”.
He also cited hotel quarantine, poor communications of health messages to some groups, problems with contact tracing, mixed messages on isolation practices, and the management of the St Basil’s care home COVID-19 cluster, which has so far claimed more than 30 lives.
Dr Rait also criticised the structure of Victoria’s health services, saying general practitioners and the AMA itself had been excluded from the pandemic response and that the government had neither been accountable nor transparent during the pandemic.
In his submission, Dr Rait wrote that “a culture of blame and finger pointing is unhelpful” but that a royal commission into Victoria’s response was required.
“This type of inquiry will be necessary in order to learn and apply lessons learned from this pandemic and build a sustainable and resilient workforce and health system for the future,” Dr Rait wrote.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister said he had a constructive relationship with the Premier and that he had expressed his concern to Mr Andrews about his plans to extend the emergency powers.
“I work constructively with the Victorian Premier, but where there are issues that need to be raised then I’ll of course raise them with him and I’ve done so consistently and that’s done in the spirit of the partnership that is necessary to work through a crisis,” Mr Morrison said.
“You don’t agree on everything, but you certainly discuss everything.”
Mr Andrews said: “We talk often, we send messages to each other often.
“As he said today, we don’t necessarily agree on every matter… There are a lot of things on his plate that I don’t have to deal with.”
Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner, whose company has been devastated by border closures and lockdowns, said extending the state of emergency would be a huge blow to confidence in the Victorian economy and risked prolonging what he said was the state’s misguided approach to containing the virus.
“If you want to suppress this virus it’s about testing and contact tracing and I think that’s where Victoria has gone wrong and until they get that right it’s just causing economic havoc for no reason,” said Mr Turner, a former veterinary surgeon.
“It’s the testing, the contract tracing and the subsequent isolation that will make the difference, not lockdowns or states of emergency.”
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An unlicensed hoon was high on ice when he crashed a stolen Commodore and killed his two passengers before he fled the scene in Melbourne’s southeast.
Dylan Cassidy, 20, was jailed for up to 11 years over the fatal crash at Cranbourne in August 2019 after he spent weeks on an ice-fuelled crime spree.
“This was absolutely appalling, incredibly dangerous offending,” Victorian County Court Judge Liz Gaynor said on Thursday.
Cassidy’s friends Jordy Kirkwood, 20, and Byron Hampton, 16, were passengers in the car’s back seat and died at the scene of the crash.
Another friend Dakoda Nicholson, who was 16 at the time, survived but was left with lifelong injuries, including to her spine.
Cassidy was speeding when he lost control of the car along the South Gippsland Highway at Cranbourne, veered onto the median strip and went flying onto the wrong side of the road.
He slammed into a small SUV, driven by a mum with her two young daughters in the back seat.
But instead of stopping to help his injured and dying friends, Cassidy started to run before he grabbed a stash of drugs from the car and fled again. Witnesses chased after the driver and held him until police arrived at the scene.
“There was a real chance … of even more death and even more serious injury,” Judge Gaynor said.
“This was truly terrible, dangerous offending”.
In the lead-up to the August crash Cassidy was described as a “one-man crime spree” by his lawyer, which was fuelled by his ice use.
The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of culpable driving causing death, reckless conduct endangering life, three charges of negligently causing serious injury, theft and other charges.
He was jailed for 11 years but must serve at least eight years before he is eligible for parole.