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Police praise ‘Invasion Day’ protesters in CBD

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Article image for Police praise ‘Invasion Day’ protesters in CBD

Victoria Police says it is “pleased” with the behaviour of those who attended ‘Invasion Day’ protests in the CBD on Australia Day.

The began at 10.30am outside Parliament House, with the crowd split into separated groups of 100 people, to comply with COVID-19 rules.

Nine News reporter on the scene, Reid Butler, says there was a huge crowd.

“There were so many people there, thousands, but it was all peaceful,” he told Dee Dee.

But, as the rally drew to a close, a counter-protester wearing a shirt emblazoned with the name of far-right group, Proud Boys, caused trouble on Flinders Street.

“A middle aged man came out in front of the crowd, draped in Australian flag style paraphernalia and blew up an Australian beach ball with a flag on it, and antagonised the crowd,” Mr Butler said.

“That’s when we saw violence erupt. He was surrounded by demonstrators, one of them kicked the ball from his hands and ripped the ball from his back.

“He was then surrounded by police pretty quickly, at least a dozen of them surrounded him and grabbed his neck, pinned him to the ground and eventually took him away.”

Despite this, Victoria Police said no arrests were made and it was “pleased” with the behaviour of those at the rally.

It comes after Melbourne’s official Australia Day parade was called off over COVID-19 concerns.

Under Victoria’s COVID-19 rules, up to 100 people are permitted to gather together outdoors.

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