The Australian city of Melbourne on Saturday witnessed violent clashes between protesters against Coronavirus restrictions and police forces.

Iran PressAsia: Protesters in Melbourne demonstrating against Covid restrictions on Saturday clashed with the police, who used pepper spray to disperse them. Several officers were injured and hundreds of people were arrested, the police said.

More than 4,000 people joined the protest, one of a number of anti-lockdown demonstrations that were held on Saturday in Australian cities. Protesters in Melbourne, most of whom appeared not to be wearing masks, charged police lines, threw objects at officers and set off flares, according to news reports and footage posted on social media.

Four officers were treated for concussions, one for a broken thumb and two others for possible broken noses, according to the police in the state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne. Another officer was treated at the scene for a cut on the neck.

The police said it was the first time officers had been forced to use “a range of nonlethal options” to disperse anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne, which has seen a number of demonstrations against restrictions. Officers fired pellets and used pepper spray.

Coronavirus deaths in Australia have risen sharply in recent days. 219