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Featured Image Credit: Credit: Dave Hewison/Speed Media/Alamy Live News
Victoria Police have charged nearly 240 people for being involved in Saturday's (September18) violent anti-lockdown protest.
As many as 700 demonstrators took to the streets in Melbourne over the weekend to voice their outrage at being in lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
What started as a largely peaceful rally quickly turned violent.
Officers were forced to use capsicum spray to deter people from advancing forwards and public transport networks were shut down to prevent more people from joining.
Ten police officers were injured in the mass demonstration and six had to be taken to hospital.
They suffered injuries from protestors throwing bottles and stones, while other officers were trampled and endured broken bones and facial injuries.
The scenes that played out over the weekend have shocked the Victorian Police Association.
Secretary Wayne Gatt said: "It's utterly disgraceful. What we saw yesterday were just acts from criminals. They weren't protest activities, they were criminal acts," Mr Gatt said.
"We can't stand for that, we can't tolerate that and it's got to stop."
He's also defended officers who have been criticised for allegedly using too much force to control the protestors.
"I'm not copping that one bit. They came to that demonstration with the intent to hurt our members, they succeeded against 10 of them," he said.
"I'm not copping looking at the 0.01 per cent of actions and looking at our members who were confronted with such overwhelming violence.
"Those actions wouldn't have occurred if those people didn't attend an unlawful protest."
He added. "Police have become the physical target for this violence, but they're not the ideological target. Governments are the ideological target, yet it's our members that become the punching bags for this," he said.