A homeless man sleeps on the pavement in Paris as cold winter temperatures continue in France, January 18, 2017. Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Two people were arrested after police moved in on rough sleepers encamping outside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. The construction of scaffolding and building works at the station has prompted police to ask the group of people to leave the area.

Although rough sleepers were given an accommodation at a motel in the city’s northern suburbs for three nights, those protesting are asking for a permanent alternative. As of Wednesday morning, demonstrators could be seen holding signs and shouting that they be given public housing.

Among those arrested included a man on a mobility scooter and a woman on the street. The arrests drew remonstration from the crowd. People could be heard screaming to “let them go.” A man could be seen taking down barricades set up for the work to be done at the station.

Police have closed off Flinders Street between Swanston and Elizabeth streets. The protests are still ongoing.

Those protesting were asked by the council to clear within 24 hours or risk being arrested. People could be seen with signs that said, “Sleeping rough is not a crime” and “Civil not criminal.”

Housing Minister Martin Foley earlier said 15 people had moved on and four had gone into rehabilitation. “There's a pathway out for the genuinely homeless and we would urge those protestors who have flocked to this in more recent days to cooperate with police let the workers get about their business and let's start restoring our fantastic Flinders Street railway station,” he said.

The Melbourne station is being given an upgrade that would cost $100 million. Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the erection of the scaffolding, which had been “planned for months,” was part of the upgrade.

A woman had been offered six weeks of accommodation. But, she said, she would subsequently be back on the streets. Speaking with 9News, she said, “It's a disgrace and a shame on the Victorian Government. This is Crown property and we have every right to occupy the streets. If everyone sticks together, united we stand. It's not a criminal act.”

An effort to clean up homelessness on Melbourne streets and thereby move rough sleepers into transitional housing was announced by the State Government last week. As part of the $9.8 million plan, immediate transitional housing was to be given to 40 people as new housing would be constructed. As many as 30 new permanent modular homes would be also built on public land by the end of 2017.