A small group of anti-lockdown protesters stormed a Melbourne shopping centre to sing a John Farnham anthem before scattering when riot police arrived.
Almost 700 demonstrators had vowed to swarm Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday for a mass rally against the Victorian government’s coronavirus restrictions.
The operation was touted as the ‘biggest protest yet’ by organisers, but kicked off in underwhelming fashion at Chadstone Shopping Centre in the city’s southeast.
Footage showed a group of no more than 20 people standing outside a Coles supermarket singing ‘You’re The Voice’.
One man held a guitar and others waved their phones in the air before the group fled when police arrived.
A handful of protesters gathered inside Chadstone Shopping Centre, in Melbourne’s inner southeast, to sing John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’ on Sundaya after before scattering when police arrived
A second video showed police officers flooding into the centre, at which point protesters had already dispersed.
Despite the rally lasting less than five minutes, an organiser said the flash protest was a ‘victory’ because police were caught off-guard.
‘We were able to get in and out in about 50 minutes with so far no known arrests or fines,’ the organiser told the Herald Sun.
‘However Victoria Police spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars on PORT for today. We consider it their fine for opposing our freedom.
‘We’re going to relish in this victory.’
Organisers have been planning Sunday’s flash protest over the past week using encrypted messages, with attendees ordered to remain within 10 minutes of the main location so they could stream to the area in unison.
In an Instagram poster promoting the event, organisers vowed to ‘flow like water’ during the main protest.
Scouts and rogue cops will reportedly be feeding information about where police are conducting patrols.
‘We are exceptionally thankful to the small number of Victoria Police officers who came forward and are willing to provide information,’ an organiser said.
The group could be seen holding up a flag as they paraded through the complex protesting Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions
Police swarmed into the centre (pictured) but the demonstrators had already fled the scene
It comes a day after up to 150 protesters descended on Elwood and Elsternwick Park in Brighton, 11km from the city’s centre, resulting in 21 fines and 16 arrests.
A sea of police flocked to the city’s Bayside suburbs on Saturday as scores of conspiracy theorists and coronavirus deniers flooded into a park to rebel against Melbourne’s lockdown.
Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday – half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm.
Law enforcement teams circling Elsternwick Park included officers from Public Order Response, the Mounted Unit and Highway Patrol.
A helicopter also monitored the situation from above.
Footage shared online showed mount police chasing dozens of protesters as they fled down a footpath.
‘Get ready to run,’ the man filming can be heard calling out.
Up to 100 people gathering at Elsternwick Park in Brighton dispersed to Elwood when faced with a long line of officers at the site, 11km from Melbourne’s CBD. Pictured: Protesters and officers at the Saturday demonstrations
A woman is arrested by police at a anti-lockdown protest at Elwood Beach on Saturday
Protesters marching along Elwood beach about 1pm were dispersed a third time, and several arrests have been made by officers.
Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.
The protests were described as ‘chaotic’, with one photographer saying there was ‘a lot of running and not much protesting.’
Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.
One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: ‘Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.’
A woman could be seen yelling out as two officers pulled her hands behind her back at the rally
A man ran from police as mounted officers chased protesters down a street during Saturday’s protest
The encrypted messages are being used to announce the ‘flash protests’ and to attempt to avoid police finding out the location of the planned rally
Melbourne remains in a Stage Four lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their houses without a valid reason, and restrictions are in place to limit movement more than 5km from a person’s home.
The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have been extended a further four weeks.
Multiple rallies have taken place in Melbourne over the past few weekends, with Victoria police responding with a heavy presence – handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.
Victoria recorded 14 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since June and the tenth day in a row the state has recorded a daily infections increase below 50.