Protesters hit police horses as anti-lockdown rally sparks mayhem in Melbourne

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters have sparked mayhem in Melbourne, with police desperately trying to control the rowdy crowd amid blatant breaches of health directions.

The out-of-control crowd transformed into a rally, as protesters marched towards the Arts Centre while shouting "freedom" .

9News also captured aggression towards the police horses, demonstrators booting and wacking the animals in violent bursts of anger.

A protester can be heard yelling one horse was "racist".

Vision earlier showed police forming a ring around the protesters near the Shrine of Remembrance, with a number of individuals handcuffed and pinned to the ground for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

While a tense stand-off erupted between protesters and police on Flinders Street, with demonstrators chanting "choose your side".

Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the protest action planned for today as "shameful" and "unlawful", despite public gatherings being permitted.

The demonstrations come as Melburnians have clocked up more than 100 days of tough lockdown.

The city's 25km travel limit is among the reasons for the action.

Melburnians are allowed to gather outside with a maximum of 10 people across two households.

"The shrine is a sacred place and not only is it wrong to protest, it is not safe, it is unlawful, and it is frankly shameful that anyone would seek to protest any issue at such a special place, a place that is regarded with such reverence because of what it symbolises," he said.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius yesterday said police would not be hesitating to fine protesters if they breached health directions.