‘Confronting and disturbing’: Concerns raised by Greek community over Victoria police tactics

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Footage and photos have emerged from Friday’s anti-lockdown protests held across Melbourne with members of the Greek community expressing concerns about the tactics used by the state’s law enforcement officers to quell protesters.

In one of the photos sent to our publication from the Greek populated suburb of Northcote, an elderly woman seems to be standing against a wall surrounded by police officers in riot gear.

“This image is confronting and disturbing to say the least, it breaks our hearts,” said the Greek Australian who preferred to stay anonymous.

Police made several arrests at Northcote Plaza. Photo: ABC News/ Kyle Harley.

“Northcote Plaza is a family orientated place and these scenes should not occur,” he said explaining that one of his close family members also fell victim of police brutality during Friday’s protest.

Upon request for further context, a Victoria Police spokesperson said; “when responding to dynamic situations, police will ask members of the public for their cooperation to ensure their safety is not compromised.”

On Friday, Victoria Police arrested 31 people at Northcote Plaza in Melbourne’s inner north, with hundreds more arrested across the city as protesters attempted to continue last week’s protests.

In total, 215 people will be fined for breaching public health orders across Melbourne, with a number of other people to be charged with criminal offences including deception, theft and drug offences.

At Friday’s COVID press conference, Health Minister Martin Foley said it was clear “protesting against COVID-19 does not work”.

“Vaccinations work against COVID-19,” he said.

“To pretend that something doesn’t exist, and then for that very thing to put you in hospital is a message loud and clear that protesting against COVID-19 is futile.”

With a post on social media on Friday, State Labor MP for Northcote Kat Theophanous referred to the small-scale protest in Northcote as ‘senseless disruption’.

UPDATE at 3.50pm:

The Greek Herald got in contact with 82-year-old Despoina, pictured in the photo, who said she “just got out of the house to see what is going on and was never in fear.”

Despoina, who has been living in the area for over 40 years, said her two sons were nearby and she was not approached by any police officer.

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