Victorian police have charged a protester with assault after an officer suffered cuts to the head during an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne.
Another eight people have been charged with breaching COVID-19 directions by failing to provide their name and address after about 200 gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance and Albert Park on Saturday.
Violent scuffles between protesters and police broke out resulting in police arresting 17 people and handing out at least 180 fines.
A 27-year-old Bulleen man was charged with intentionally causing injury and assaulting a police officer. He was bailed to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on March 3, 2021.
Seven people who agreed to provide police with their name and address were fined, while a 55-year-old man was charged with breaching a violence intervention order.
"Despite all the warnings, it was disappointing to see individuals turn out to protest in the city today, putting the lives of Victorians at risk," a police statement said.
A photographer at the scene says a man punched officers at the city's Shrine of Remembrance before being fitted with a mask and handcuffs.
Later at Albert Park, police reportedly surrounded a group of about 30-50, pushing some to the ground.
Some of the demonstrators carried placards with anti-government sentiments and at one stage were singing the national anthem.
Before Saturday, police confirmed they had arrested four men in connection with the planned Freedom Day rally.
Those arrests followed the well-publicised arrest of a pregnant Ballarat woman over allegations of a separate rally planned there for Saturday.
Australian Associated Press