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Police have made multiple arrests at a protest in opposition to COVID-19 vaccination just days before Australians are due to start getting jabs.
Hundreds of people were seen at Melbourne's Fawkner Park on Saturday, when they were met by a heavy police presence.
Officers used pepper spray on some protesters when they moved beyond cordons and at times, police appeared to lose control of the crowd, an AAP photographer on the scene said.
While some people were covered in pepper spray, crowds chanted, "freedom, freedom".
The rally started peacefully but as speakers started addressing the crowd "people started getting pretty fired up", the photographer said.
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Speakers made comments such as "God's on our side" and "it's a fight between good and evil".
One speaker was interrupted by a directive from police for people to spread out into groups of 20 - the current maximum number allowed for public gatherings in Victoria - which was met with jeers.
Videos taken by Reignite Democracy Australia, an organisation set up in opposition to the Victorian government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, show a speaker congratulating the crowd for turning up.
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The woman talked about feeling "so alone" during the lengthy stage-four lockdowns in the city last year and as though he was not allowed to question the government's decisions.
Simultaneous protests have been held across the nation in all other major cities, as well as in Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Albany.
At Sydney's Hyde Park, controversial celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans was among the hundreds of protesters.
Evans, who has recently been banned from social media platforms, addressed the crowd in Sydney.
Protesters marched with placards with slogans such as "herd immunity of vaccines is a scam" and "your body, your choice".
High-risk Australians, including frontline health workers, are due to start receiving coronavirus vaccinations on Monday.
- Australian Associated Press
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