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Protesters claim ‘victory’ over cops

Anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne have gathered to belt out John Farnham’s classic You’re The Voice outside a Coles in the city’s southeast, claiming the stunt as a “victory” against Victoria Police.

The fleeting chorus at Chadstone Shopping Centre, from the group dubbed Guardian Angel, lasted only a few minutes before they scattered to avoid the arrival of police.

A few dozen protesters, most of which were wearing masks, sang the iconic Aussie track just after 1pm Sunday. One man could be seen holding a guitar.

In a media release, the group claimed to have caught police “completely off-guard” and said members had so far escaped any arrests or fines.

“We’re going to relish this victory,” the statement said.

The release said a “few hundred” activists attended but a video posted to social media does not appear to show that many people.

Officers from Victoria Police’s Public Order Response Team (PORT) arrived soon after to comb the shopping centre, but the group had already fled.

“We were able to get in and out in about 50 minutes … However Victoria Police spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars on PORT today. We consider it their fine for opposing our freedom,” the group said.

Guardian Angel is planning a second protest on Sunday at a location yet to be announced.

Victoria Police on Saturday arrested 16 anti-lockdown protesters and slapped 21 with fines following a protest at Elwood.

In total 150 fines for general breaches of public health orders were handed out across Victoria on Saturday, including 19 for failing to wear a mask and 42 for curfew breaches.

It came a week after Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said having to front the media to issue repeated warnings to activists flaunting the law was like “a dog returning to eat his own vomit”.

“As I’ve previously said, as was repeatedly said, it is at the moment unlawful to leave home to engage in protest activity,” he said.

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