Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters descended on Sydney's CBD on Saturday afternoon as New South Wales announced a new daily record for COVID-19 cases.
The Australian state recorded 163 community cases on Saturday and one death as the state enters what State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared a "national emergency".
Greater Sydney and its surrounds have now been in a COVID-19 lockdown for four weeks, but many residents have had enough with thousands on Saturday taking to the city's CBD streets to protest.
Unmasked protesters gathered in Victoria Park around midday and marched towards Sydney's Town Hall, chanting "freedom" and demanding the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported people were seen waving the Australian flag and holding placards reading "I do not consent", "drain the swamp" and "wake up Australia".
In the city, protesters clashed with a wall of police officers and riot squads, with ABC News reporting protesters were throwing objects at officers.
Brawls reportedly broke out among protesters and NSW police confirmed a number of people had been arrested during the operation.
"The NSW Police Force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, however, today's protest is in breach of the current COVID-19 Public Health Orders.
"The priority for NSW Police is always the safety of the wider community."
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was asked about his thoughts on the protests, which he described as "really silly", the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"At the present time we've got cases going through the roof, and we have people thinking that it's OK to get out there and possibly be close to each other at a demonstration," he said on Saturday morning.
"We live in a democracy and normally I am certainly one who supports people's right to protest, but I actually think it is really silly."
The Guardian reported similar scenes unfolded in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane where protests on a smaller scale were held.
Some protesters lit flares, while others held banners reading: "This is not about a virus, it's about total government control of the people."