250 held in Australia corona lockdown protests Vietnam calls in army for strict lockdown

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Sydney

More than 250 people who were protesting coro-navirus lockdowns in Australia were arrested Satur-day and many faced fines for defying health orders, authorities said.

At least seven police officers were treated for inju-ries after skirmishes broke out at some of the pro-tests, which took place in multiple cities nationwide.

The largest and most violent protest was in Mel-bourne. Many were organized by people in en-crypted online chat groups.

Sydney has been in lockdown for two months, while Melbourne and the capital, Canberra, went into lockdown earlier this month.

Under the rules of the lockdown, people are mostly confined to their homes and have limits placed on their social interac-tions.

Despite those measures, Sydney’s New South Wales state reported a record 825 new daily community infections on Saturday.

Several cities are battling outbreaks of the highly contagious delta variant. Protesters say the lockdowns should end, but au-thorities say they are necessary to suppress the spread of the virus and save lives.

In Melbourne, a crowd of about 4,000 mostly un-masked protesters let off flares, yelled and blasted music in the central city. Victoria state police ar-rested 218 people and issued more than 200 fines, each for more than 5,400 Australian dollars ($3,850).

Six Victoria state police officers were hospitalized and three people remained in custody for allegedly assaulting police.

Officers used pepper spray on several people, saying in a statement they were left with no choice.

Vietnam’s government said on Saturday it was send-ing troops to Ho Chi Minh City to help deliver food and aid to households as it further tightens restric-tions on people’s movements amid a worsening surge of the coronavirus, reports AP.

The army personnel will be deployed to help with logistics as the city of 10 million people asks resi-dents to stay put for two weeks starting from Mon-day, a report on the government website says.—AFP/AP

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