Frustration over Sydney's ongoing COVID-19 lockdown bubbled over for many in the city on Saturday, with thousands of people taking to the streets to protest the restrictions.
The demonstration came after New South Wales recorded 163 new community cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday - the highest number yet in the current outbreak.
It's estimated around 3500 people attended the protest. The protesters, who were mostly maskless, gathered at Victoria Park and marched in the city's CBD along George Street and back again, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Protesters clashed with police officers and riot squads, with dozens of people arrested.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon described the protesters' actions as "absolutely disgraceful", according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the demonstration was "really silly", especially given the current situation in the state.
"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.
"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."
Authorities are now warning the protest could become a super-spreader event, with the possibility that restrictions will be further extended now more likely.
"You don't have to be an epidemiologist to work out that if this is a super-spreader event, we can forget about lifting restrictions next week," New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott told reporters, according to Reuters.
Almost 2000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in New South Wales over the past five weeks, with six deaths linked to the current outbreak.