Severity: Warning Alert

Security: Activists planning to hold two protests in Melbourne, Australia, May 10, over COVID-19-related issues. Increased security likely.

This alert affects Melbourne

This alert began 09 May 2020 20:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 May 2020 14:00 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location(s): Melbourne (map)
  • Date: May 10
  • Impact: Increased security, localized transport disruptions; possible minor clashes

Summary
Two activist groups plan to hold demonstrations in Melbourne, Victoria, May 10, over coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related concerns. A group of anti-vaccination protesters intends to gather in central Melbourne to demonstrate against alleged misinformation around COVID-19 and to demand that the government lift restrictions. The site of the demonstration remains unclear. Organizers claim that up to 1,000 people could participate in the action, though police have stated that they projected around 100 participants. Meanwhile, activists demanding the government lift COVID-19-related restrictions plan to gather outside of Parliament House. The rally could attract several hundred to a few thousand participants.

Victoria Police have called on organizers to cancel the demonstrations, as they violate existing state gathering restrictions. Authorities have warned that police will be on-site for both protests, and attendees could face fines for joining the gatherings. Officers could erect roadblocks near the demonstrations, and localized transport disruptions are likely. Though violence is unlikely, minor confrontations are possible, particularly if activists refuse to disperse.

Background and Analysis
The demonstrators claim that the state's lockdown measures limit personal freedom, among other grievances. Victoria officials have maintained some of the tightest restrictions in Australia, despite reduced COVID-19 activity. However, authorities have announced they will begin to ease some restrictions after a nationwide state of emergency ends May 11 but have yet to provide details on which measures they will adjust.

Advice
Avoid all protests due to existing restrictions and the potential for minor clashes. Follow all official instructions. Confirm transport status before traveling into central Melbourne. Use alternative routes to avoid affected areas and allow additional time to reach destinations.


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