Saturday, July 24, 2021

Aussie gov'ts to crack down on lockdown protests

Sydney anti-lockdown protesters slammed as ‘selfish’ and 'self-entitled' as police vow to make further arrests | Sky News - AAP|SBS: 

July 24, 2021 - "Thousands of protesters who marched through Sydney's CBD in objection to the city's COVID-19 lockdowns have been slammed as 'selfish' and 'self-entitled'. NSW Police Minister David Elliott has announced the formation of a strike force comprised of 22 detectives to identify and track down the estimated 3,500 protesters who marched through the city on Saturday.... 'I’m hoping we issue 3,500 infringement notices, I’m hoping we have people before the courts,' he told reporters on Saturday afternoon.... Mr Elliott described the protest as an 'absolute disgrace', saying the 'selfish and inappropriate behaviour' of protesters is 'what's going to continue this city into lockdown'....

"Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement that she was 'utterly disgusted' by the protesters who had shown 'utter contempt for their fellow citizens'.... NSW Police released a statement acknowledging the attendees were in breach of the COVID-19 rules.... Thousands of angry people, many of whom were unmasked, marched from inner Sydney's Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district. They broke through a police barrier to continue down George Street but were stopped at King Street. 

"There is a heavy police presence in Sydney, including mounted police and riot officers.... Greater Sydney has been locked down for the past four weeks, with residents only able to leave home with a reasonable excuse.

"NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard condemned the planned protest as 'really silly' on Saturday morning.... NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said it was not the time for a protest. He said police wanted to work with the organisers to make sure people were complying with public health orders and that it did not turn into a 'disastrous' mass spreading event....

"Meanwhile, in Melbourne, a separate anti-lockdown protest was brought to a violent end by police. An AAP photographer wearing visible press accreditation was pepper sprayed as police cleared the rally, as were other photographers.... Thousands of protesters of all ages chanted 'freedom' as they gathered outside Victoria's Parliament House. Some lit flares. They held banners, including one that read: 'This is not about a virus it's about total government control of the people.'

"In a statement released on Saturday evening, Victorian Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius described the protesters as 'selfish' and having 'blatant disregard for others'.... He said police are reviewing the evidence from the protest ... 'to identify as many protesters as possible so that appropriate action can be taken against them'. Earlier, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews labelled the idea of protesting lockdown 'ridiculous'.... 

"Hundreds also rallied in Brisbane on Saturday. A car rally was also planned for locked-down Adelaide, with police warning they would make arrests over unlawful activity."

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