Australian lockdown protesters clash with police

Australian police clashed with anti-lockdown protesters in the state of Victoria -- making at least 15 arrests.

Australia's hot spot for the coronavirus is continuing to gradually improve and after nearly five weeks of a hard lockdown, protesters say they’ve had enough.

Over 200 protesters rallied in the state capital Melbourne chanting "freedom" and "human rights matter", surrounded by swarms of police.

Speaking at a news conference, state Premier Daniel Andrews said they’re actions were not ‘safe, smart or lawful.’

“In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting."

Victoria reported 76 new COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths on Saturday (September 5).

Andrews is due to outline plans on Sunday for easing Melbourne's stage 4 restrictions, which shut large parts of the economy, brought a nighttime curfew, and required everyone to stay home except for essential business.

Over the past two months, infections in the country have more than tripled to over 26,000, with Victoria making up around 75% of the total.

Australia's government and businesses have urged Victoria -- which makes up about a quarter of the nation's economy -- to lift the restrictions as the country has sunk into its first recession since 1991.

Andrews said he would take a "steady and safe" approach out of the lockdown.

Video Transcript

- Australian police clashed with anti-lockdown protesters in the state of Victoria, making at least 15 arrests. Australia's hot spot for the coronavirus is continuing to gradually improve. And after nearly five weeks of a hard lockdown, protesters say they've had enough.

- (CHANTING) Freedom! Freedom!

- Over 200 protesters rallied in the state capital Melbourne, chanting "freedom" and "human rights matter," surrounded by swarms of police.

DANIEL ANDREWS: It is not safe--

- Speaking at a news conference, State Premier Daniel Andrews said their actions were not safe, smart, or lawful. Victoria reported 76 new COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths on Saturday. Andrews is due to outline plans on Sunday for easing Melbourne's Stage 4 restrictions, which shut large parts of the economy, brought a nighttime curfew, and required everyone, except for essential business, to stay at home.

Over the past two months, infections in the country have more than tripled to over 26,000, with Victoria making up around 75% of the total. Australia's government and businesses have urged Victoria, which makes up about a quarter of the nation's economy, to lift the restrictions, as the country has sunk into its first recession since 1991. Andrews said he would take a steady and safe approach out of the lock down.