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Victoria Police have issued multiple fines worth $5452 each after surrounding a synagogue in Melbourne’s inner southeast to confront a group of people allegedly in breach of COVID-19 lockdown rules.
The group is believed to have gathered to mark Jewish New Year, entering the synagogue about 5am on Tuesday and refusing to leave until nightfall, The Age reports.

Officers manned the exits of the Ripponlea synagogue, anticipating the exit of the alleged rule-breakers inside.

Victoria Police at a synagogue in Melbourne. (Nine)

“Victoria Police has spoken to a number of people who attended an address on Glen Eira Road, Elsternwick on Tuesday 7 September. All adults who attended will be issued with a $5452 fine,” Victoria Police said in a statement on Tuesday night.

“A number of children who were present will not be fined.

“Investigators believe a number of other people were present and are yet to be spoken to by police.

“Investigators are working to identify them.”

The exact number of fines issued was not available, police said.

A Ripponlea synagogue. (Nine)
A man looked like he was setting up for an event inside the synagogue. (9News)

The activity follows reports a large group of mask-less men and children gathered at another synagogue in the same street on Monday night after curfew.

A witness filmed footage of the mostly mask-less group pouring through temporary fencing and into the Adass Israel building.

Steve Davis was walking past when he noticed the congregation appearing as though they were setting up for an event.

Police have surrounded the synagogues. (9News)
Police have flooded Ripponlea. (Nine)

“It would have been 20 to 30 and then another 20 to 30 coming and going as I was there waiting for the police to come,” he said.

“I just think think this behaviour from anyone in society at this time is just appalling, it’s disgusting really because small businesses are already hurting, and this is just extending what’s already happening.”

Sundown on Monday represented the beginning of Jewish New Year celebrations.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria declared its disapproval of gathering in breach of lockdown prior to the beginning of the celebrations.

A video on the council’s website tells viewers: “This Roshanah we need to stay home and celebrate only with the poeple we live with.”

At the time, Mr Aghion said the community was disappointed at the breach of restrictions and and that the community as a whole been very compliant with the lockdown.

“The community itself has been doing the hard yards,” he said.

Source: 9News

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