Massive protests occurred in Australia Saturday against Covid-19 restrictions. The states of New South Wales (NSW) , home to Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, and Victoria reported a total of 886 infections Saturday, amid a raging outbreak of the Delta variant. Hundreds of unmasked protesters were seen marching through Melbourne’s Central Business District before confronting police. Thousands were in the streets. Police used pepper ball rounds and pepper spray. Six officers were hospitalized and 218 people were arrested. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “the Delta strain is like nothing Australia has seen before.” Anti-lockdown protests occurred on Saturday in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. In Melbourne, hundreds of protesters marched through the city before they confronted authorities. Police say Melbourne protest was „most violent” in 20 years.
However, for more than a year, Australia was regarded as a success story in containing Covid-19. But “No matter how hard we work and no matter if 99% of people are doing the right thing, there is an element of Delta that nobody can control,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared. Berejiklian expected 70% of the NSW population over the age of 16 to be fully vaccinated by the end of October, and 80% by mid-November.