Tattooed far-right Proud Boys pepper-sprayed by cops as hundreds arrested during Melbourne riots
TATTOOED far-right Proud Boys were pepper-sprayed as they clashed with cops today during riots in Melbourne.
Police say they've arrested more than 400 anti-lockdown protesters outside parliament.
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Protesters chanted "freedom" as tensions escalated with cops who issued 395 penalty notices during a Freedom Day rally.
Victoria Police said a female senior sergeant was taken to a hospital with a suspected broken arm following an arrest.
Cops said others were charged with assaulting police.
Some protesters that clashed with police were wearing shirts with the words 'Proud Boy's and 'F*** Antifa'.
The Proud Boys is an alt-right organisation linked to violent clashes and created in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes.
Victoria Police said in a statement it was disappointed to arrest a large number of protesters who "showed disregard for the safety of the broader community and the directions of the Chief Health Officer (CHO)".
A spokesperson said: "Victoria Police will not hesitate to fine those who clearly and blatantly breach the Chief Health Officer directions."
Images from today's protest shows how quickly things became hostile.
Cops pepper-sprayed people, pinned them to the ground and carried scores away in handcuffs.
Protesters chanted "tell the truth" and "human rights matter".
One man wearing a Make American Great Again hat told ABC.net.au that he was protesting against "government tyranny".
He said: "[I'm protesting against] them trying to bring in social credit scores, forced vaccines, and track and trace everywhere."
9News reporter Laura Turner said she had been verbally abused by protesters and a cameraman also spat on.
She said:"I've not spoken with one protester who hasn't been hostile and aggressive to me today.
"There has been a lot of signage and accusations that the media is to blame for coronavirus and the media is to blame for protecting politicians.
"I've been verbally abused on a number of occasions."
Who are the Proud Boys?
The Proud Boys is an alt-right organisation that was launched in New York City in 2016 and has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The group was created by Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of VICE Media.
The group opposes Antifa which is an umbrella term for far-left militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
During a debate when Donald Trump as asked to condemn white supremacists he said: "Proud Boys – stand back and stand by."
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