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'Act Of Evil' Leaves 19 Injured In Melbourne

Several people have been left in a critical condition after a car ploughed through pedestrians at a busy intersection in Melbourne's CBD which police believe was a deliberate act.

A 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent is in police custody. Police say he was alone in the car, and has a history of drug and mental health issues.

Police believe it was "a deliberate act" but said there is no evidence the incident is related to terrorism.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described it as "an act of evil, an act of cowardice". He thanked the members of the public who rushed to the aid of those injured.

Another man, 24, who was filming the incident, was also arrested at the scene.

The car drove through a red light at the intersection of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Streets at about 4.45pm on Thursday.

One witness said the car was travelling at up to 100 km/h as it hit peak hour crowds crossing Flinders St. The car eventually crashed into a tram stop.

Less than a year ago, six people were killed in a similar incident in nearby Bourke St, but police said they are treating them as separate incidents.

"We believe, based on what we've seen, that it's a deliberate act, the motivations are unknown," Victoria Police commander Russell Barrett told reporters on Thursday.

Premier Andrews said 15 people were in a stable condition, and four in a critical condition. Among those rushed to hospital is a pre-school aged child suffering serious head injuries.

Witness Jim said the Suzuki was travelling west along Flinders Street at up to 100km/h.

"The intersection was full of pedestrians and he just ploughed through," he told ABC TV.

"The only thing that slowed him down was him hitting pedestrians... All you could hear was the sound of the car hitting people and screams."

Another witness said between 40 and 60 people were crossing the road at the time.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted: "As our federal & state police & security agencies work together to secure the scene and investigate this shocking incident our thoughts & prayers are with the victims & the emergency & health workers who are treating them."

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