Top cop issues warning to ‘absolutely disgraceful’ anti-lockdown protesters
Victoria’s top cop says the behaviour of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday was “absolutely disgraceful”, and he’s issued a warning to those intending to go to future demonstrations.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says people who went to peacefully protest on Saturday were “very much in the minority”.
“A lot of these people were angry men who were just set upon confronting police and attacking police,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“The behavior was appalling, they were disgraceful. They clearly came with an intent to be involved in criminal activity, the vast majority of them.”
Police used new tools to deter protesters on the weekend, including 40mm foam projectiles fired at individuals who targeted police and pepperball rounds, which are similar to OC powder.
Mr Patton warned police have more non-lethal weapons at their disposal, which they will use against violent demonstrators if they stage more protests.
“We have a range of tactics as well as a range of non-lethal ammunitions,” he said.
“In 2018 we made sure we were well-equipped to be able to deal with civil unrest if required. It’s not something we want to use but we do what we have to.”
Police are reviewing footage from the demonstration, and Mr Patton expects more charges will be laid.
“We’ll be going through and we’ll be looking at those who have assaulted police officers … and we’ll be following up,” he said.
Press PLAY below to hear more from Shane Patton on the protests