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Western Highway re-opens between Ballarat and Ararat

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The Western Highway between Ballarat and Ararat has reopened following a day of dramatic arrests.

Police say around 50 protesters were arrested as they tried to ensure the safety of workers bringing in heavy equipment for road works.
 
The protesters say they were trying to protect culturally significant trees.
 
The speed limit on the section of the highway close to the protest site between Buangor and Ararat has been reduced to 40Kph.

In addition to those arrested, there were also a significant number of protesters directed to move on who will receive infringement notices for failing to comply with the Chief Health Officers directions.

In a media statement Victoria Police says it "respects people’s right to protest peacefully and are there to ensure no breaches of the peace or antisocial behavior occurs as a result of protest action at the site."

"Officers work hard to provide a safe environment for all people involved in protests as well as the broader community," the statement said.