Authorities say up to 250 people went to the rally held at the Queen Victoria Market alone.
Mounted police and heavily armed riot police were among hundreds of officers swarming the CBD today to stamp out the protests, which are unlawful under current Public Health Orders.
Hundreds of people gathered in multiple groups as part of a ‘Freedom Walk’ protesting ongoing stage four lockdowns in Melbourne.
Police believe a 44-year-old man from Burwood East was one of the main organizers of the rally. He is still in custody tonight and is expected to be charged and his home searched.
One other person was also arrested for assaulting police during today’s protests.
“Police were disappointed that many protesters were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers,” a Victoria Police statement said this afternoon.
“It was extremely disappointing to see people not just protesting, but putting the lives of other Victorians at risk despite all the warnings.”
One group of protesters on Peel Street in the CBD huddled together and linked arms as they were surrounded by a ring of riot police.
One man could be seen being dragged away by heavily-armed officers.
Another group was heard chanting “freedom” as it marched through the court precinct in the inner city.
A number of protesters have reportedly traveled into Melbourne to take part, in defiance of border bans.
One mother and daughter duo who traveled from Bendigo, a two-hour drive north of Melbourne, told police they didn’t care if they were fined as they would fight it in court.
It comes after protests in Melbourne’s CBD yesterday were crushed by authorities, with police outnumbering the attendees.
In an online group chat, participants blamed each other for the lacklustre turnout.
The protest was also broken up into a series of smaller groups in an effort to evade authorities.
Earlier today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews praised the “outstanding” job of police amid allegations of heavy-handedness.
“No protest is … anything other than selfish at this time,”Andrews told this morning’s press conference.
“You can say ‘it is a peaceful and safe protest’ – no, it’s not, because the virus spreads with movement.”
Victoria recorded 41 new coronavirus cases today, the fourth day running of a daily tally below 50 in a marked downward trend for the state.