Police defend decision to close major freeway

POLICE have defended their decision to close one of Melbourne's busiest freeways for two hours yesterday because of a lone political protester.

The woman, believed to be in her 50s, stepped onto a footbridge about 6.30am and hung a sign saying "VicPol corrupt".

A police spokesman said the woman poured petrol on the bridge and told officers at the scene she was prepared to self-harm.

Traffic was brought to a standstill for two hours on both sides of the freeway between Warrigal and Toorak roads before the woman was removed about 8.45am.

Inspector David Blencoe said the woman had not made any specific threats, but there had been a risk to public safety.

"The concern was either she could set fire to the flammable liquid, or she'd jump off the footbridge onto the freeway," the ABC quoted him as saying.

"We don't know what she was protesting was about - she made reference to Victoria Police."

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