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Police clash with protesters in Melbourne

Smithers ?...release the hounds...

Incredible scenes were caught on camera this morning when mounted police clashed with construction workers in Melbourne's CBD.

Workers and union members who had gathered at the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale St attacked horses and police who tried to break the picket line.

Protesters initially tried to hold their ground as mounted police officers advanced towards them but then went on the offensive and tried to push back the police.

The officers used pepper spray to subdue the protesters who pushed up against the horses and forced them back slightly.

One man who was sprayed directly in the face from close range immediately withdrew from the protest.

The violent scenes began when mounted police tried to disperse them from Colonial First State's $250 million Emporium Melbourne project at the old Myer building around 7am this morning.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union state secretary Bill Oliver denied there were any violent clashes between workers and police.

"I've had a meeting this morning with Victoria Police and police say this is the most disciplined rally, in the way construction workers behaved themselves, in 20 years," he said.

Mr Oliver denied reports that the workers had attacked police horses.

"Horses came around the corner - obviously when you get horses and you have people on foot that causes confrontations," he said.

"If a horse is coming at you at full pace you've got to put your hand up to defend yourself, to fend them off, and I think that's exactly what's taken place this morning."

Striking workers have blockaded the site since Wednesday in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling for the protesters to disperse from four Grocon building sites.

The CFMEU wants better access to Grocon sites and the right to name shop stewards on its projects.

Grocon's chief executive Daniel Grollo has called the protest illegal.

Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said he's tried to resolve the dispute between the company and the union despite some fundamental disagreements.

"That process is without prejudice and in no way do we condone violence," he told ABC radio.

The workers have reportedly vowed to maintain the blockade but most of them have now left the scene.


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Added: Aug-27-2012 Occurred On: Aug-27-2012
By: DirtyUncleBerty
Regional News
Tags: Police, clash, with, protesters, in, Melbourne
Location: Australia (load item map)
Views: 2284 | Comments: 12 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 59 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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