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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has condemned "ugly scenes" in Melbourne following violent protests which he described as "appalling" and "unlawful".
Addressing the media at police headquarters, Premier Andrews vowed police would "take action against those who did the wrong thing yesterday".
"There were some people there who you would say were from the building industry, there were others who were not from the building industry. They're not there to protests, they're there for a fight, pretend to be protesting," he said.
“In my job over many years I have met hundreds and thousands of builders, hundreds and thousands of tradies who build this state, …they’re fine people, hardworking people, and what we saw yesterday is an insult to the vast majority of tradies or people in the building industry who are not about wrecking.”
Protesters are expected to take to the streets in Melbourne again this morning after violent protesters, including construction workers and aggressive activists demonstrated against Victoria’s lockdown, mandatory vaccines and the construction shutdown.
Premier Andrews reiterated the government's commitment to mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for the construction sector saying there are more coronavirus cases in construction than in aged care in Victoria.
"Vaccination is our pathway out of this," he said.
It's the first time Premier Andrews has fronted the media following Monday's violent protests which brought the city to a standstill. In a statement, issued on Monday night, Premier Andrews condemned the demonstration saying "there is no excuse for the terrible behaviour" gripping Melbourne.
More than 500 police officers were mobilised to respond to the violent rally which started at the CFMEU’s city headquarters, before travelling through the CBD to Parliament House, and stopping traffic on the West Gate Bridge.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said police would do everything in their power to stop the gatherings in compliance with the chief health officer guidelines. But he refused to detail the police operation planned to stop protests or the number of police who will take to the streets.
"We have significant tactics in place, we will be agile in our response, we will be very swift in our response," he said.
"We have seen groups that do contain people from the construction industry, they do contain trades people, but they contain a range of other people. We know from what we have been monitoring that people are being encouraged to put on high-vis gear, to put on work ware, to come in under the cover of a crowd and not necessarily trades people, but people who are tied up with the Freedom Rally."
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