Australian police said officers had arrested 57 people in demonstrations against strict restrictions imposed to tackle a surge in Covid-19 infections.
The country has face protest in several cities after authorities announced new lockdowns and disease controls amid increasing coronavirus cases.
Australia confirmed the highly-transmissible Delta variant’s arrival, which has challenged it strategies to keep cases low.
Also, it still has the lowest vaccination rates among developed nations, with less than 14% of its population inoculated.
The worrying Covid-19 situation has forced the government to re-imposed tight restrictions, bringing 13 million Australians back in lockdown.
But thousands have gathered in different cities, including Sydney, to protest the new measures. In Sydney, people chanted “freedom” as they marched to the city’s center.
Thousands of civilians marched through the suburb of Haymarket, which New South Wales (NSW) health authority recently declared a Covid-19 hotspot.
Besides, demonstrators blocked roads after gathering outside Sydney’s town hall.
Local media also reported small rallies in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Some rallies also took place in Melbourne, where protesters gathered at the Parliament House and lit flares.
People also protested and lit flares at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane.
In Sydney, some people held placards with message against lockdowns, such as “Wake Up Australia” and “Drop your mask, raise your voice.”
Another group of protesters reportedly threw bottles at mounted police agents.
Authorities said demonstrations violated current Covid-19 controls.
The NSW Police Force said in a statement that it “recognizes and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.”
“However, today’s protest is in breach of the current Covid-19 Public Health Orders,” the force’s statement added.
New South Wales’ capital has been under lockdown for the past four weeks. Nonetheless, its case toll continues rising.
Health officials reported a new infection high, with 163 new cases detected on Saturday.
In response, state health minister Brad Hazzard echoed premier Gladys Berejiklian’s call for other state authorities to send extra Covid-19 jabs to New South Gales.
Mr. Hazzard stated that a worse situation in New South Gales could create massive problems in the whole country.
“New South Gales is the gateway to the rest of Australia,” he added.
Johns Hopkins University’s data said the nation has logged 32,594 infections and 916 fatalities since the pandemic began.