Police arrest demonstrators at Melbourne protest against Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Hundreds of protesters calling for an end to Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown have clashed with police in Melbourne.

Police used pepper spray during scuffles with some of the demonstrators — many of whom refused to wear masks — at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Police arrested 16 people and issued 96 penalty notices for offences including not wearing a mask, breaching public gathering directions, travelling more than 25 kilometres from home, assaulting police and failing to state their name and address.

“Victoria Police was extremely disappointed to yet again arrest a large number of protestors who showed a complete disregard for the safety of the broader community and the directions of the Chief Health Officer (CHO),” police said in a statement.

Many of the demonstrators were not wearing face masks.(AAP: James Ross)

Police describe protesters as ‘selfish’

Police said they were investigating an incident where several police horses were hit in the face with a flagpole by a man.

“Thankfully the horses were not injured during the assaults,” the police statement said.

Officers are also investigating damage to a police van after it was pelted with items thrown by protesters.

Three police officers were injured, with one taken to hospital as a precaution.

“Victoria Police will not accept the selfish behaviour of those who continue to breach the CHO directions,” the police statement said.

An aerial image shows police surrounding demonstrators at an anti-lockdown protest at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
Police surrounded demonstrators at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.(ABC News)

About 200 to 300 people were estimated to have attended the rally, making it one of the larger events of its kind over the past few months against Premier Daniel Andrews’s tough measures to control COVID-19 infections.

Protesters in the Shrine forecourt held placards with slogans such as “media is the virus”, “COVID-19 is a scam” and “wake up Aussies”.

Some were wearing t-shirts that said “let Victoria work”.

Many people pulled their face masks under their chin or were not wearing them at all.

Officers surrounded the protesters on foot, with more forming an outer wall, and many were on horseback.

Protesters could face two separate fines for attending the rally at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius warned that protesters could fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.

A group of masked police officers scuffle with a man who is on the ground.
Police have made several arrests.(AAP: James Ross)

While some lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25 kms from their homes and are not permitted to have visitors to their home, except for permitted reasons.

They also can be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.

Premier calls protesters ‘selfish’

Earlier, when asked about the demonstration at his daily press conference, the Premier said the protest was unhelpful.

“Protests are not safe. Protests are selfish,” Mr Andrews said.

“Protests are potentially very dangerous to the strategy we have in place.

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Speaking before the protest, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Shrine was no place for demonstrations.

“We want to get the place open and make announcements on Sunday, and if people are out protesting, that does not help.

“I think common decency would see people only go to the Shrine when they wanted to remember and to appropriately commemorate the sacrifice of hundred of thousands of others.

That is what the Shrine is about — it is not about making political points one way or the other.”

Three men with face masks below their chins stand in a crowd.
Protesters chanted slogans including “free Victoria”.(AAP: James Ross)

There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.

A website for the protest tells participants: “Daniel Andrews must resign and lockdowns must end. Restore our freedoms now.”


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Police arrest anti-lockdown demonstrators at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

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Huawei ekes out third-quarter revenue growth as U.S. restrictions bite

October 23, 2020

By Josh Horwitz and David Kirton

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co Ltd eked out a gain in third-quarter revenue as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic added to supply-chain difficulties brought about by U.S. restrictions on doing business with the Chinese firm.

The figure comes a day after the telecommunications equipment maker announced its latest flagship smartphone, potentially its last in the high-end Android segment most dependent on U.S. technology.

It also comes after Sweden became the latest nation to ban Huawei from its fifth-generation (5G) network infrastructure, following U.S. suspicion of Huawei’s relationship with China’s communist government – which Huawei has dismissed.

Hinting at an end to at least four years of double-digit growth, revenue grew 9.9% in January-September versus the same period a year earlier to 671.3 billion yuan ($100.4 billion), the private company said in a statement on Friday without providing a segment breakdown.

Revenue for the third quarter alone rose 3.7% on year to 217.3 billion yuan, Reuters’ calculations showed.

Net profit margin for the nine months was 8.0%, versus 8.7% over the same period a year earlier, Huawei said.

The United States in the spring effectively cut off Huawei’s access to U.S. software and chip-making equipment, following similar measures in May 2019 that are gradually taking effect.

Huawei’s line of Kirin chips, designed in-house, helped catapult the firm to the top of the global handset market.

Earlier this year, however, Consumer Business Group Chief Executive Richard Yu said U.S. restrictions meant Huawei would soon stop making high-end Kirin chips. Analysts expect its stockpile of the chips to run out next year.

On Thursday, Yu in a livestream unveiled Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone series, the Mate 40.

The device, priced at 4,499 yuan for the feature-light version, comes equipped with the Kirin 9000 chipset, manufactured at the 5nm process node that only Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O> have been able to bring to market at scale.

The Mate 40, however, could be the company’s last device of its kind. Already, consumers in China have rushed to buy Huawei smartphones on concerns over the availability of newer models.

Meanwhile, overseas, sales have been sluggish due in part to U.S. restrictions blocking Huawei’s access to Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> Google Mobile Services.

Mo Jia, who tracks the global smartphone sector at researcher Canalys, said the Mate 40 will likely sell well in China though total sales will suffer from supply-chain issues.

“Huawei won’t find it hard to sell the Mate 40 series, as most of the shipment will go to China,” Jia said. “But it can only produce limited units powered by the Kirin 9000 series, which will impact the number of the Mate 40 phones it can ship.”

Reflecting its manufacturing difficulties, Reuters reported last week that Huawei was talking to Digital China Group Co Ltd <000034.SZ> and others to sell parts of its Honor budget handset business in a deal that could fetch up to 25 billion yuan.

Premium rival Apple began selling two of its latest flagship iPhones in stores worldwide on Friday, with analysts expecting the U.S. firm to take market share from Huawei as the pair dominate the high-end handset segment in China.

(Reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Christopher Cushing)

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Coronavirus: Greater Manchester moves into tightest restrictions of Tier 3 | UK News

Greater Manchester has moved into the highest coronavirus alert level of Tier 3, joining Lancashire and Liverpool City Region.

The region’s pubs and bars will be closed for 28 days unless they are serving “substantial meals”. Casinos, bingo halls and bookies will also be closed.

Social mixing is banned indoors and in private gardens, and the rule of six applies in outdoor settings such as parks, public gardens and sports venues.

Wales will begin its two-week lockdown at 6pm on Friday, while Coventry, Stoke and Slough enter Tier 2 on Saturday and South Yorkshire enters Tier 3.

Meanwhile, talks continue between the government and leaders in Nottingham, Warrington and West Yorkshire as to whether those areas will move toTier 3.

On Thursday, 21,242 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK, along with 189 deaths among people who had tested positive in the 28 days before they died.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also admitted that the test and trace system, which he previously insisted would be “world beating”, needed improvement.

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Latest figures show that less than 60% of close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England are being reached – the lowest weekly percentage since the scheme began.

Meanwhile, just 15% of people tested for COVID-19 in England at an in-person site are receiving their result within 24 hours.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the system’s weaknesses could be “diminishing the effectiveness”, adding that there is “room for improvement”.

Sir Patrick also showed modelling that estimates between 53,000 and 90,000 people are being infected with COVID-19 each day in England.

In other coronavirus news:

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Finland’s capital region waiting for clearer instructions on sports restrictions

THE CAPITAL REGION of Finland has asked the government to issue further instructions on what types of hobbies and sports should be regarded as activities that pose a high risk of transmission of the new coronavirus before shuttering sports facilities, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

A task force established by four municipalities in the region stated yesterday that such determinations must be made by the government.

“We don’t want to define what are high-risk activities in the capital region’s municipalities. The central administration must be able to do that,” underlined Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki.

It would be rational, he said, if the restrictions were the same in the capital region than in, for example, Tampere and Turku.

The task force has been tasked with coordinating the coronavirus response of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa.

Kirsi Varhila, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, on Thursday revealed in a press conference that the ministry is working on a possible list of high-risk activities. She also reminded, however, that such determinations can be challenging for national authorities because they lack knowledge of the ability of individual facilities to adopt measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

Vapaavuori said the municipalities have each sketched the divisions and instructions with the Ministry of Education and Culture. “The preparatory work is well underway. We’re waiting for more precise guidelines from the central government for the difficult divisions.”

The coordination task force is also hoping for more thorough dialogue with the government and with grass-roots sports and exercise clubs and organisers in the municipalities, viewing it would help with the formulation and implementation of recommendations.

Vapaavuori also reminded that even competitive clubs in the same league can find themselves in unequal positions depending on whether they practise in publicly or privately owned practice facilities.

“Some will get to practise, others won’t.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Victoria Police to investigate DHHS public servant after leak of coronavirus restrictions roadmap

An investigation into a Victorian health department employee who allegedly leaked a top secret document has been labelled a “witch-hunt” by the State Opposition.

The ABC understands the department referred to the matter to Victoria Police after it discovered the breach, which is against the Victorian Public Service (VPS) code of conduct.

“Victoria Police can confirm it has received a referral from a government department in relation to unauthorised access of information,” a police spokesperson said.

“This matter is being investigated by the E-Crime Squad and as this investigation is ongoing.”

In September, a document featuring a draft of the Victorian Government’s roadmap out of restrictions was leaked to the Herald Sun newspaper. But neither police nor the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) would confirm whether the investigation related to that leak.

Although the Government initially said it was a “working document” and Premier Daniel Andrews described it as having “no status”, many key proposals in the document — such as case thresholds and reopening dates — were put into effect.

Government ‘dysfunctional and secretive’, Opposition says

DHHS confirmed it was aware of an alleged code of conduct breach by a staff member who provided administrative support.

But it said it would be inappropriate to comment because the issue was now a police matter.

Shadow Attorney-General Ed O’Donohue said the reports of the investigation were concerning.

“The increasingly desperate, dysfunctional and secretive Andrews Labor Government will do anything it can to stop Victorians from knowing the truth,” he said.

At his daily press briefing, Mr Andrews said he was unaware of the investigation or the referral of the matter to police.

“I don’t have thoughts on those matters, they don’t involve me,” he said.

“It’s not a matter that I’m particularly concerned about.

“Cabinet in confidence documents, are under law, very important documents that need to be appropriately protected, not just now but every day of every year, that’s been the case for decades.”

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Finnish pubs, nightclubs to face stricter restrictions than cafés, restaurants

THE SOCIAL AFFAIRS and Health Committee of the Parliament has finalised its proposal on restricting the operations of restaurants in Finland.

Markus Lohi (Centre), the chairperson of the Social Affairs and Health Committee, on Tuesday said the committee agreed unanimously that the restrictions should vary based on the primary purpose of the establishments as of 1 November.

The strictest restrictions, he said, would be targeted at bars, pubs, nightclubs and other establishments the primary purpose of which is to serve alcohol.

The decree drafted by the committee would enable regional authorities to prohibit such establishments from bringing in more than 50 per cent of their usual full capacity. The capacities of cafés and restaurants, in turn, could be limited to 75 of usual full capacity if necessitated by the regional epidemiological situation.

The division is justified by the heightened risk of infection in certain types of restaurant settings, argued the Social Affairs and Health Committee.

“The strictest restrictions will be targeted at restaurants that, from the perspective of combating the coronavirus epidemic, pose a highly likely risk of contact between customers,” Lohi was quoted as saying in a press conference by YLE.

The restrictions can also be scaled based on the regional number of coronavirus infections, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The decree will be formulated in a way that the restrictions will, in principle, only be in effect in areas where they are necessary, meaning they would vary depending on whether the area is in the basic, acceleration or spreading stage of the epidemic.

Lohi added that the term ‘area’ has not been delineated in the proposal, revealing that it can apply to a region, hospital district or municipality depending on the circumstances.

Regional authorities will also be able to limit the opening and serving hours of restaurants in an attempt to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus. High-risk restaurants, for example, can be ordered to close their doors at 11pm, 12am or 1am on grounds of a regional epidemiological assessment.

The restrictions will not be applied to restaurants in conjunction with service stations, for example.

The Finnish Hospitality Association (Mara) described the proposal as a step in the right direction in that it takes better into account the constitutional rights of entrepreneurs and employees in the restaurant industry.

It is nevertheless critical, however, that the restrictions are justified with accurate and up-to-date data on exposures and infections from the government and health care authorities.

Timo Lappi, the managing director at Mara, highlighted that the proposal provides the government with considerable leeway in deciding on the restrictions, which – he underlined – must be necessary and proportionate according to the Constitutional Law Committee.

“If the coronavirus situation is well under control in one region, it should have no restrictions,” he summed up in a press release.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Alleged freight train stowaway caught in Adelaide in breach of coronavirus restrictions

A man accused of stowing away on a freight train has been arrested in Adelaide, after allegedly crossing into SA from Victoria in breach of travel restrictions.

A rail supervisor found the 41-year-old, and called police, after the train arrived in Adelaide early this morning.

Police said the man boarded the train in the Victorian town of Dimboola, before it departed for Adelaide last night.

They did not say if the man was from the Wimmera town or from elsewhere within Victoria.

Police said the man had earlier submitted a cross border travel registration form, but failed to wait for a judgement.

He has been charged with breaching COVID-19 directions and has been refused bail to face court later today.

Dimboola is on the main train line between Adelaide and Melbourne.

It is about 100 kilometres east of the South Australian border, leaving it outside of relaxed border restrictions announced yesterday.

The incident comes after four men admitted stowing away on a freight train to Adelaide in July, after border restrictions between South Australia and Victoria came in.

The men all pleaded guilty to failing to follow COVID-19 directions.

They escaped conviction after admitting the offences and spending a day in custody.

Police arrested three men last week over separate instances of entering South Australia from Victoria by car in contravention of border restrictions.

One new case in quarantine

Another traveller who has returned from overseas is South Australia’s latest positive COVID-19 case.

The man aged in his 30s has been in a medi-hotel since arriving back .

He tested positive on his first day in the state.

There are now eight active cases in South Australia and 477 recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Victoria reported three new cases today.

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NSW eases Covid restrictions on churches and gyms as state reports 10 new cases and Victoria three – politics live | Australia news

It may escape the attention of the leader of the opposition that when serious crises confront this nation it is the entire government that comes together, the entire public service that comes together, to act on a whole-of-government basis to deal with that crisis. And that is what our government has done – whether before Covid-19, as we dealt with black summer [the prime minister went on holiday to Hawaii], or as Covid-19 hit this country in early January, as we … moved to close the borders and move through the many other measures that we had to take to save lives and livelihoods.

As the attorney general outlined before, this is complex legislation, and it requires detailed consultation, Mr Speaker. And that involves the actions of the public service, it involves the involvement of the attorney general to engage in that process out in the community.

Mr Speaker, I was not going to have one public servants diverted from the task of … dealing with this pandemic, as the leader of the opposition would suggest. It may have escaped the attention of the leader of the opposition that the attorney general has been involved for many months now in bringing both employers and employee representatives together to fashion a set of proposals to get more Australians back to work. [The roundtables ended in September.]

Mr Speaker, the leader of opposition doesn’t understand the crisis facing this nation, and that makes him totally ill-equipped to participate in ensuring Australian lives and livelihoods can be protected.

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