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Anti-lockdown protesters name, target police in chat groups

On Friday, Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said any attempt to intimidate police was a serious criminal offence and anyone found responsible would face prosecution.

“Despite what your political attitudes might be … there’s a person behind the uniform,” Mr Gatt told radio station 3AW. “They’re just doing their job.”

Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday.

Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday.Credit:Chris Hopkins

State opposition police spokesman David Southwick said the reported violence and threats against police and their families was simply “not on”.

“Hardworking frontline officers are not to blame for Daniel Andrews’ tough lockdown laws, and they should not be targeted for doing their jobs,” he said.

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Police also moved on Friday to arrest and charge a 44-year-old Mulgrave man accused of assaulting an emergency worker following Saturday’s rally.

A police spokeswoman said detectives from the Melbourne crime investigation unit executed a search warrant at a Mulgrave property as part of an investigation into numerous assaults of police officers at the rally.

The Mulgrave man has since been charged with affray, assaulting an emergency worker on duty and breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions. He has been bailed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 10, the spokeswoman said.

The move came a day after police appealed for information from the public to help identify images they released of eight people who attended the rally and were wanted for questioning.

The spokeswoman said two of those eight had since been identified and inquiries were continuing.

To report seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating online behaviour people can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or in an emergency contact triple zero.

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