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Protests staged over construction ban in Australian state amid increasing COVID infections

12:35 AM Sep 23, 2021 | ANI

Sydney [Australia]:

Australia's construction industry workers took to the street for the second day following a two-week ban on the sector in Melbourne in response to construction sites being linked to new COVID-19 infections.

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On Tuesday morning protesters spilled onto the streets marching through downtown Melbourne.

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Riot police have been dispatched to monitor and disperse the crowds while also protecting key sites including the state parliament, and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) building, where protestors clashed with police on Monday.

Monday's clash at the CFMMEU saw broken windows, objects thrown at senior officials, and rubber bullets being used by riot police to disperse crowds.

"The union will continue to defend its members' rights to work safely across Australia and we will not be intimidated from doing our job," the CFMMEU said in a statement released on Monday afternoon.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas told Tuesday morning's press conference that the protest posed potential risks for public health.

"[There is] a need for the government to intervene and take strong action ... in order to protect the community, but also to protect those workers," he said.

COVID-19 infections continued to increase in Victoria state, which recorded 603 new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, up from 567 on the previous day, and one additional death from the pandemic.

In the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), stay-at-home orders were re-introduced in three local government areas in the state's north in response to new local cases.

Restrictions are planned to last seven days from 5.00 pm on Tuesday, affecting the areas of Kempsey, Byron and Tweed.

The NSW saw a slight uptick in cases amid its downward trend, recording 1,022 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8:00 p.m. Monday, up from 935 the previous day.

The state also recorded 10 deaths in the same period, bringing the death toll from the current outbreak to 255.

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