An Occupy Melbourne activist has accused police of sexually assaulting her in Flagstaff Gardens.
The woman was dressed in a costume made from a tent in an attempt to highlight restrictions of using camping equipment as part of the ongoing protest.
In a video published on the internet by Occupy Melbourne, the woman is seen dancing around police before a group of officers rip the tent costume off her.
Occupy Melbourne says the woman was left in her underwear and never consented to having her clothing removed.
In a statement issued this evening, Victoria Police says officers assisting City of Melbourne employees advised protesters that if they chose not to wear clothes under the tents, they would be given reasonable time to dress before the structures were seized.
“Last night, a small group of protesters had camped in the gardens. This morning, police attended the gardens to assist City of Melbourne in enforcing by-laws,” the statement said.
“Three of the four protesters cooperated and evacuated their tents.
“The fourth, a female, refused to comply with direction.”
The statement confirms the Police Ethical Standards Department has received a physical assault complaint in relation to the incident and that it is investigating.
“As this investigation is ongoing, we will not be commenting further,” the police statement said.
“Victoria Police supports the right of peaceful protest, and police members have worked consistently for the past two months to manage the Occupy Melbourne protesters and their associated activities during what are sometimes very difficult circumstances for police.”"