Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest pandemic lockdown restrictions amid another surge in COVID-19 cases, and police made multiple arrests after crowds broke through barricades and threw plastic bottles and potted plants.
Unmasked participants walked from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall in the Central Business District carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “truth”.
There was a heavy police presence in Sydney, including mounted police and riot police, in response to what authorities said was unauthorized protest activity. Police arrested 57 people after throwing objects at officers.
The protest comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state of New South Wales hit another record with 163 new infections in the past 24 hours.
The Greater Sydney area has been closed for the past four weeks, and residents have only been able to leave the house with a reasonable excuse.
“We live in a democracy, and normally I’m certainly someone who supports people’s rights to protest…but right now, we have issues going through the roof and we have people who think it’s OK to get out there and maybe be close to each other at a demonstration.”
In Melbourne, thousands of maskless protesters took to the city center chanting “freedom”. Some of them lit torches as they gathered outside Parliament House in Victoria.
They carried signs, including one that read: “This is not about a virus, this is about total government control of the people.”
A car protest march has also been planned in Adelaide, which is also under lockdown. Police have warned that they will make arrests for illegal activity.
By Friday, 15.4% of the country’s population aged 16 and over had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “We’re past the corner, and we’ve sorted it out. We’re getting the marks we need to, and now a million doses a week are being delivered.” “We’re on our way to where we want to be by the end of the year and maybe sooner than that.”
The government said it will send thousands of additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech to Sydney next week, while adults in Australia’s largest city are urged to “consider strongly” AstraZeneca-Oxford given the scarcity of Pfizer supplies.
What is happening in Tokyo
The first match of the Olympic Beach Volleyball Championship has been canceled because a Czech player has tested positive for COVID-19.
Marketa Slukova tested positive earlier this week, leading to her and partner Barbora Hermanova’s exit from the Tokyo Games.
The Czechs were supposed to play a team from the host country that was going to take part in the Olympics for the first time. Instead, Japanese pair Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii claimed victory by default.
Slukova is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive for the virus since arriving in Japan, including men’s beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic.
The team said it is investigating whether the COVID-19 outbreak is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.
What is happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 193.1 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Case Tracking Tool. The reported global death toll has reached more than 4.1 million.
in a Asia, Vietnam announced a 15-day lockdown in the capital, Hanoi, as the coronavirus spread from the southern Mekong Delta region. The lockdown order, issued late Friday night, prohibits gatherings of more than two people in public places. Only government offices, hospitals and essential businesses can remain open.
in a AfricaAnd Tanzania on Saturday received the first batch of one million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US government. Tanzania was among the few countries in Africa that did not receive vaccines or began vaccinating its population, mainly because its former leader claimed that prayer had defeated COVID-19 in the country.
In the AmericasCuba has received a shipment of coronavirus aid from Russia, including one million medical masks, according to the Latin American country’s Defense Ministry. Cuba, which kept coronavirus infections low last year, earlier this week reported the region’s highest per capita infection rate, straining the healthcare sector and helping fuel rare anti-government protests earlier this month.
in a EuropeFar-right activists and members of the yellow vest movement in France staged protests on Saturday against the new coronavirus measures. French lawmakers are discussing a bill that would require everyone to have a virus pass to enter restaurants and other places and mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers as infections and hospitalizations rise again.