A large number of police officers gathered at Eaton Mall, Oakleigh, on Monday as an anti-lockdown rally took place.

A police statement in response to questions by Neos Kosmos said officers were called to the area after reports that a group of people had gathered there.

Officers attended the Hanover Street centre about 12pm and arrested three men in relation to allegedly breaching the peace and violating the Chief Health Officer’s directions. The rest of the crowd dispersed without incident.

“A 40-year-old Huntingdale man was released pending summons for breaching Chief Health Officer directions and failing to obey police direction. Two men, aged 43 and 65, were issued with an infringement notice for breaching Chief Health Officer directions,” a police spokesperson said. “Police are investigating the incident and it remains ongoing.”

Sources of Neos Kosmos state that a few dozen protestors gathered at noon to express their anger against Stage Four restrictions which were implemented by Victoria’s state government at midnight on Friday. Those present waved Australian flags, and said they were being deprived of their fundamental rights.

Greek Australian bystander Kostas Kounandis, present at the incident, told Neos Kosmos that “100-150 people gathered to protest against the suppression of their democratic rights. It was a peaceful protest,” he said.

Protestors were heavily outnumbered by police, and eye witness accounts state that a news helicopter hovered overhead.

The Reignite Democracy Australia Facebook page livestreamed the protest. A reporter from the site reached out to protestors. “Stand up! You guys need to be there on the 20th (February),” urged one protestor. “It can’t always be the same people getting out there fighting for your rights.”

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Another protestor said, “I thought I’d come down here just to support Victorian businesses. I hope this sends a message to people not to pay attention (to restrictions).”

Greek shop owners in the region told Neos Kosmos that they were surprised by the incident and annoyed by the large police presence.

One of the protestors who wished to remain anonymous told the media that “the real virus is the mental health issue being caused by the situation”.

The Reignite Democracy Australia reporter live streamed the police detainment of two people. In one of the arrests, handcuffs were put on a man wearing a football jersey and holding a ball. The people refused to tell the friends of the detained man where he was being taken.

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