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Huge delays at regional Victorian checkpoints ahead of weekend rush

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

It comes as checkpoints into regional Victoria face their first major test, with police vowing to stamp out unlawful actions.

Anti-lockdown protesters are vowing to cause chaos across Melbourne this weekend, as a so-called 'ring of steel' faces its first major test with traffic queues of 13 kilometres building.

It'll be the first weekend of lifted restrictions across regional Victoria, but those in metropolitan Melbourne are being warned not to leave the city for a getaway.

Already this morning, long queues of traffic are banked up as people attempt to leave the city for the country.

Long line of cars with traffic from the Little River checkpoint banked up almost to Werribee. September 12, 2020.

But they face a $4957 fine for crossing into regional areas without a valid reason.

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Today's Christine Ahern says there are "huge delays" and that traffic is snaking back more than 13 kilometres near the Little River checkpoint.

Drivers are being warned to expect delays of up top 50 minutes to an hour just to pass through the checkpoint.

Police there are saying the security zone there has never been so busy.

https://twitter.com/ChristineAhern/status/1306712833292292096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Melbourne's Lord Mayor Sally Capp says people trying to leave the city - with valid reasons - needed to be prepared.

"We heard this morning of long queues at the road blocks but for us in Melbourne metro, it is really about staying focused on the lockdown, doing our best," Ms Capp told Today.

"We are seeing the numbers tumble down. And we need to keep seeing that happen and then we will be able to get on with life again."

Long line of cars with traffic from the Little River checkpoint banked up almost to Werribee. September 12, 2020.

There are also concerns security checkpoints set up near gateways to regional Victoria could be at risk of being breached, due to the weather.

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Safety officers stationed at the checkpoints will order police and ADF personal to leave if it becomes too wet or foggy, allowing vehicles to pass through freely without being checked.

But Premier Daniel Andrews says anyone who does cross into the region from metropolitan Melbourne illegally will face the full force of the law.

However, the risk of fines and potential jail time is not deterring anti-lockdown demonstrators, with three freedom rallies set to take place tomorrow and Sunday.

The locations and times won't be revealed until 30 minutes before the rallies, as ringleaders try to avoid being arrested.

Police had been cracking down on protest organisers, taking them into custody before the rallies could take place.

But to get around this, those behind the events have now been concealing their identities online and sending encrypted messages to subscribers.

Victoria Police have vowed to be out in full force with the riot squad to quash any illegal large gatherings this weekend.

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.

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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-anti-lockdown-protests-planned-for-weekend-as-regional-checkpoints-face-major-test/535b7b30-e2ad-46e1-bda4-9c745d122c6d

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