74 arrested in Melbourne for anti-lockdown protests

Protesters lie down for a minute of silence in the position George Floyd was in when he died during a rally against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Seattle Washington

An Australian policeman has been suspended over the arrest of a man who was allegedly hit by a police auto and then kicked in the head by an officer.

Mr Atkins (32) has bipolar disorder and is in an induced coma following the incident.

Civil rights groups are calling for an independent inquiry into the responding officers after harrowing footage of the extremely violent incident was shared online.

Victoria Police's internal ethics body is investigating the incident. Melbourne is coronavirus hotspot.

"While it remains unlawful for Victorians to leave home to protest, you can expect that Victoria Police will hold people to account".

The man had been at a hospital seeking treatment for mental health issues when he left, prompting staff to call the police.

Footage of the man's arrest was posted to social media, including a moment when one of the officers making the arrest appears to stomp on the head of the man as he lies on the ground, surrounded by other officers.

In the first video, Atkins is seen walking through stopped traffic before he turns and walks away from an oncoming police vehicle, which then accelerates into him and knocks him to the ground.

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Footage broadcast by the Seven News TV channel shows the man walking in the middle of the road, waving his arms in front of a police vehicle.

He quoted Midnight Oil, telling police if someone contracted coronavirus at one of his events "it would be better to die on your feet than live on your knees".

Mr Cornelius said significant police resources would be on hand, taking officers away from other important areas of policing.

"It is like watching a video from America or Beirut", Atkins father told the Herald Sun, adding that his son has severe mental illness but does not have a history of violence.

Police also spoke to a number of people planning to protest across the weekend and "put them on notice" not to attend. They were kicking him and he wasn't even fighting back.

The man's lawyer, Jeremy King, told ABC News that his client had not committed a crime and was in a "vulnerable" state at the time of his arrest.

The Age reports the family intends to launch legal action against Victoria Police.

It comes after hundreds of protesters clashed with police in ugly scenes at the Shrine of Remembrance and Albert Park Lake last Saturday, which saw 17 arrested and 180 fined for breaches of the chief health officer's directions.

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