Coronavirus Australia: Bankstown, Sydney anti-lockdown protest clashes with cops

Anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with cops in Sydney’s south-west in a march against crippling Covid-19 restrictions, with four men arrested.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian tightened lockdown rules in the councils of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury on Saturday due to disproportionately high case numbers of the highly infectious Indian Delta variant in those areas.

On Sunday, 79 of the 105 new cases came from the three locked-down local government areas – but the figures didn’t stop about 40 furious residents from taking to the streets claiming the south-west was ‘unfairly targeted’ by the strengthened rules.

Protesters directed their anger at Ms Berejiklian chanting ‘Freedom, Freedom’, ‘No to the vaccine’, and ‘f**k off Gladys’ as they marched through Paul Keating Park at about 5pm on Sunday.

Fiery photos show men, women and teenagers marching with a mega phone, and mostly without face masks, coming up against police who tried continually to quell the demonstration. 

Pictured: Police trying to reason with a protester in Bankstown at an anti-lockdown protest on Sunday afternoon

Pictured: A group of demonstrators in Bankstown, in Sydney's west, marching against lockdown on Sunday afternoon

Pictured: A group of demonstrators in Bankstown, in Sydney’s west, marching against lockdown on Sunday afternoon

Pictured: Demonstrators marching in Bankstown against restrictive lockdown rules in Sydney's west on Sunday afternoon

Pictured: Demonstrators marching in Bankstown against restrictive lockdown rules in Sydney’s west on Sunday afternoon

In one image, cops could be seen confronting group members as others crowded around filming the altercation with their phones.

Another showed a small parade of people marching through the park behind chanting men.

Police told Daily Mail Australia that four men were arrested during the demonstration. 

‘About 40 people gathered at a park when officers attached to South West Metropolitan Operations Support Group who were already at the location attempted to disperse the group,’ a spokeswoman said.

‘Four men, aged 20, 23, 27, and 32, were arrested and taken to Bankstown Police Station where they are expected to be charged.’ 

Pictured: Police in face masks watching an anti-lockdown protest in Sydney's west on Sunday. Demonstrators took to the streets in Bankstown

Pictured: Police in face masks watching an anti-lockdown protest in Sydney’s west on Sunday. Demonstrators took to the streets in Bankstown

Pictured: Men and women marching in Bankstown on Sunday afternoon, claiming the lockdow in Sydney's west is 'unfairly targeted'

Pictured: Men and women marching in Bankstown on Sunday afternoon, claiming the lockdow in Sydney’s west is ‘unfairly targeted’

Pictured: A police clash with anti-lockdown protesters at a demonstration in Sydney's west on Sunday afternoon

Pictured: A police clash with anti-lockdown protesters at a demonstration in Sydney’s west on Sunday afternoon 

The 810,000 people living in those regions were told they cannot leave their suburbs even for work unless they’re employed in healthcare, aged care or emergency services until at least July 30.

Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, including taking a Covid test every three days.

Local leaders have already slammed the police blitz in her area to enforce Covid lockdown restrictions, instead advocating for more health workers.

‘We need the health response rather than the police response,’ Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller told the Today show.

The Mayor said people in her council were mostly complying with Covid restrictions and deploying the army in addition to higher police visibility would be ‘overkill’.

‘[People] are very concerned that we’re being singled out,’ Ms Waller said. ‘We know from previous lockdowns [that people complied].

‘If we got an extra hundred health workers in our local area giving out the vaccines, rather than this, I think we’d get a better outcome.’

An extra 100 police officers patrolled the Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown councils on Friday in a crackdown on people breaching lockdown restrictions.

Officers have urged people to follow stay-at-home directives, and warned that they will fine anyone who breaches the rules up to $1000. 

In total, 240 PINs were issued on Saturday, with 53 of those $200 infringements for failing to wear a fitted face covering. 

A further 23 people were charged with failing to comply with Public Health Orders.    

On Sunday, Ms Berejiklian revealed that announcing the harsh restrictions on the three councils was ‘the most difficult day’ she’s had in her role as premier.

‘Yesterday was a very, very difficult day for everybody, for everybody. And I am not embarrassed to say that in public life, yesterday was probably the most difficult day I’ve had,’ she said.

One Bankstown local told Daily Mail Australia the new restrictions would result in him being out of work for at least two and struggling to cover the rent on his truck

One Bankstown local told Daily Mail Australia the new restrictions would result in him being out of work for at least two and struggling to cover the rent on his truck 

A female protester is handcuffed by police at the rally in Paul Keating Park in Bankstown (pictured) on Sunday

A female protester is handcuffed by police at the rally in Paul Keating Park in Bankstown (pictured) on Sunday

But she felt it was the only way to keep people safe and reduce the risk of transmission after the data proved they’re ‘still not managing to get the curve of transmission to come down’. 

‘I can’t remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,’ Ms Berejiklian said.

‘Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.’

One Bankstown local said the protesters were furious that already severe lockdown restrictions in the south-west were going to be toughened.

‘People have lost their jobs and lost their freedom. I’m a truck driver how am I going to rent my truck? Or feed my family,’ the 38-year-old, who asked to go by his initial M, told Daily Mail Australia.

A no-nonsense cop has been praised for the way he handled lockdown protests in Bankstown, empthasing with residents and telling them that he, too, is struggling with government directives

A no-nonsense cop has been praised for the way he handled lockdown protests in Bankstown, empthasing with residents and telling them that he, too, is struggling with government directives

He said those in Sydney’s southwest felt they were being unfairly targeted by the government.

‘When Bondi got the virus why didn’t they close those areas off?’ he said.

‘We’re not allowed to go there but they can come here. If the government is really so concerned why don’t they lock everyone down the same?’

Footage also emerged showing a police officer saying he was also ‘sick of lockdown’ but pleaded with attendees to abide by the rules.

One Bankstown local said the protesters were furious that already severe lockdown restrictions in the southwest were going to be toughened. Pictured: People during the protest

One Bankstown local said the protesters were furious that already severe lockdown restrictions in the southwest were going to be toughened. Pictured: People during the protest

‘We are sick of this lockdown rubbish. But this rubbish here [the protests] doesn’t help,’ the cop said.

He warned that the likely outcome of protesting would be increased public scrutiny and a deployment of even more police officers to contain crowds and civil unrest in the coming days.

‘The government has put in rules that we have to enforce… we’re as over it as you are,’ he continued.

 ‘I understand your frustrations, I’ve got family that are struggling as well. It’s rubbish.’

SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 30

Those living in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong must abide by the following: 

Masks are mandatory in all indoor settings outside the home, including offices and apartment buildings

Residents can travel only 10km from their homes

– Exercise and gather in groups of two while outside

– Only one member of each household per day allowed to leave the home for essential shopping

– No browsing in supermarkets and retail businesses. Shop only for essential items

– Funerals are capped at 10, weddings are banned

– No car pooling with other households when going out for exercise

There is no curfew but a stay at home order applies, with only four reasons to leave your home 

Schools are closed with at-home learning in place, but no child will be turned away if they need to attend in person

The new rules are in addition to the stay-at-home orders already in place until July 30, which include only leaving the home to 

*shop for essential items (one person only) 

*give care and compassionate reasons (one visitor only) 

*exercise or for work or education that cannot be conducted remotely

 The rest of NSW (including regional areas) is subject to the following restrictions:

  • Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn
  • No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
  • Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
  • The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
  • Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)

When does the lockdown end?  

  • Stay at home orders apply to Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Friday, July 30, 2021 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk