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Violence on Melbourne beaches as police clash with dozens flouting virus rules

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

In another incident on St Kilda Beach, a 32-year-old man was arrested after police asked him to wear a mask and a clash ensued in which they had to use capsicum spray to subdue him.

Violence erupted on a Melbourne beach as police clashed with members of the public seen ignoring social distancing rules to escape the city's unseasonable heat.

A group of people from Tarneit in the city's west had bragged online about ignoring restrictions and going to the beach in Altona, nearly 20 kilometres away, today.

When police quizzed them, they became aggressive towards officers.

One woman was issued three infringement notices and several others were fined.

In another incident on St Kilda Beach, a 32-year-old man was arrested after police asked him to wear a mask. A clash ensued in which they resorted to capsicum spray to subdue him.

"They just came and asked him in a nice way, wear your mask, and he said no," a witness told 9News.

"They asked him for his ID and he said, 'I'm not giving my ID, either.'"

The man was charged with assaulting police, drunk and disorderly conduct and breaching the Chief Health Officer's directions.

The incidents come as a Melbourne council has threatened to close local beaches to the public after crowds were seen ignoring social distancing rules.

Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to remain vigilant with social distancing and getting tested, otherwise the state could see numbers in the hundreds again.

St Kilda Beach Saturday October 3, 2020.

READ MORE: Victoria records 12 new coronavirus cases, one new death

"We've just got to stay the course on this. We are so, so close — let's not any of us do anything that might undermine the very positive numbers, the very strong performance we have seen in recent days," Mr Andrews said today.

"The numbers are coming down, once we get them low, we can keep them low and we can open up again."

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He said if people didn't do anything "silly or stupid" now, then Victorians would be able to continue to go to the beach this summer.

"I want to thank all those Victorians who were going to the beach and did so in full accordance with the rules, all of those Victorians who went to the park, who followed the rules and were able to connect with others, were able to get some sunshine and some fresh air, heavens knows Victorians have earned it, but it has got to be done in the right way," Mr Andrews said.

St Kilda Beach Saturday October 3, 2020.

READ MORE: Unseasonably warm weather continues for east coast

"If we try to shortcut this thing — we will be back where we were weeks and months ago when we were reporting 725 cases."

Yesterday, crowds were also seen gathering in parks and outdoor recreational areas, with many drinking alcohol and failing to wear masks as per current health regulations.

St Kilda Beach Saturday October 3, 2020.

READ MORE: Two men from regional Victoria breach COVID-19 rules after strip club visit

Victoria Police issued 104 fines for breaches, including 17 for failing to wear a protective mask.

A man and woman, paddle boarding in Hobsons Bay, were also fined for leaving the five kilometre home radius after they got in trouble in the water and needed assistance from police.

Mr Andrews condemned the crowds yesterday, threatening to have beaches closed if social distancing rules continued to be ignored.

St Kilda Beach Saturday October 3, 2020.

READ MORE: Coronavirus cases across Australia

You can get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348

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Source: 9News

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