Aussie's Arcane Lockdowns Spark Backlash - 'Freedom Day' Protesters Clash With Cops

Social unrest surged Saturday across Melbourne and Sydney, as hundreds of protesters took to the streets, defying arcane coronavirus lockdowns that have been in effect for nearly five weeks following a spike in virus cases and deaths.

Anti-lockdown groups gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance, a war memorial in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, with some demonstrators wearing no masks, holding signs, and were heard chanting "freedom" and "human rights matter," reported Reuters.

Police were dressed head to toe in riot gear, as footage from social media shows clashes between demonstrators and police. 

"It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters after the demonstrations. 

Dozens were arrested at the protests in Melbourne and Sydney; hundreds of others were issued violations for breaching the stay-at-home public health order. 

"As a result of the protest, a police officer received lacerations to the head after being assaulted by an individual who was in attendance," Victoria Police said in a statement.

The statement continued, "Our investigations into this protest will continue, and we expect to issue further fines once the identity of individuals has been confirmed."

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) quoted one woman at the Shrine of Remembrance who said, "there's no epidemic — it's just a pretext to keep us in lockdown." 

Reuters reported several other protests in Sydney and one in Byron Bay in the state of New South Wales. All demonstrations were in breach of local restrictions on large gatherings, which prompted local police to respond with riot police units. 

Many anti-lockdown protesters were concerned that stay-at-home orders have become a form of control that restricts people from living their lives. Others were worried that the latest restrictions would result in a more profound decline in the economy.

"Our economy is going to crash because if we don't start opening up borders and letting people have freedom of choice to do what they want to do, how are we going to exist?" one protester told ABC.

Australia officially entered a recession at the beginning of Sept., the first time in three decades, as deep economic scarring and soaring unemployment rate could result in a much slower recovery. 

Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister, was heard Tues. (Sept. 1) as saying virus "hysteria" and draconian lockdowns are perpetuating the economic slowdown and have created a "something for nothing mindset" among younger generations living on furlough. 

"Much of the media has indulged virus-hysteria with the occasional virus-linked death of a younger person highlighted to show that deadly threat isn't confined to the very old or the already-very-sick or those exposed to massive viral loads," Abbott said. 

Abbott accused Andrews of being a 'health dictator' by placing five million Melburnians under "house arrest." He said politicians need to stop acting like "trauma doctors" and start adopting the mindset of "health economists" - as reckless money printing to sustain the country's economy during lockdowns isn't sustainable.

"From a health perspective, this pandemic has been serious. From an economic perspective, it's been disastrous," he said. 

So the question we ask readers is what could incite further unrest? Well, it could be mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. 

This all comes just days after massive anti-lockdown protests in Germany. A backlash to the latest increase in restrictions in the US could be just around the corner.