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The Informer: Fruit, veg, invective hurled in Melbourne

Police move protesters on through the Queen Victoria Market during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne. Photo: AAP
Police move protesters on through the Queen Victoria Market during an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

Anti-lockdown anger spilled over in Melbourne as protesters took to hurling fruit and veg - along with invective - at police today.

The ruckus wasn't confined to the fruit and vegetable stalls of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market as violence spilled over to nearby streets but the images of riot police, masked gloved and with shields at the ready, will not be forgotten quickly.

The Age reports that "some stunned shoppers stood and watched as police stood shoulder to shoulder in a ring of steel around the western side of the market" and that a woman was treated for "shock outside a stand of bananas".

It was estimated about 150 protesters chanted "freedom" and "power to the people" as they were significantly outnumbered by officers. Footage was posted online of violent scuffles as officers in riot gear pushed through the crowd in between tables piled high with produce.

The second day of protests comes hours after a woman shared footage of police dragging her from a car.

Facebook posts say protesters plan to gather every Saturday until restrictions are eased.

Victoria on Sunday reported 41 new cases and seven deaths (six of them from aged-care facilities), bringing the state's death toll to 723 from the national count of 810.

Parliament House in Melbourne was closed for deep-cleaning today after a security guard tested positive for COVID-19 while Premier Daniel Andrews also announced a $3 billion package to help of small business to recover after lockdown.

A recovery package was also announced in South Australia where regional tourism will get a $20 million injection to cope with the hardship the pandemic has prompted.

In Queensland top doctors may have told critics of the state's chief health officer to "back off" over coronavirus border closures but NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again pleaded with her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk to reconsider the border closure.

Ms Berejiklian thanked the South Australian and Northern Territory governments for indicating a path forward for NSW residents and appealed to Ms Palaszczuk to do the same.

NSW recorded nine new cases on Sunday while NSW Health issuing alerts for a fast food outlet and an eastern suburbs bus route on Saturday.

On the good news front, the clinical trials of the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine have resumed. The Australian federal government has a deal for 34 million doses of the vaccine to be distributed next year if trials succeed.

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