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Coronavirus Australia: Brave police horse Tobruk receives gifts from the public after protests

Brave police horse Tobruk has been spoiled with carrots, apples and black liquorice treats after being punched by a protester during Sydney’s anti-lockdown rally.

Tobruk and his rider were managing thousands of demonstrators who marched in the city’s CBD in protest against the city’s lockdown on Saturday.

In the midst of the chaos, a man approached the mounted policeman and allegedly struck the 13-year-old thoroughbred, which emerged from the incident uninjured.

Tobruk’s rider, Senior Constable Patrick Condon, (left) said his beloved horse Tobruk had received carrots, apples, chocolate and liquorice from grateful Sydneysiders

Other anti-lockdown protestors hurled flower pots at mounted officers, covering them with soil, and another policeman was splattered with dark ink.  

NSW Police posted a photo of a protester allegedly punching Tobruk on Saturday evening and pleaded with the public to identify the man.  

The violent image quickly went viral on social media and received 63,000 likes and almost 44,000 comments within hours. 

After thousands of outraged Sydneysiders asked for an update on Tobruk’s condition, NSW Police confirmed the brave horse was safe and well. 

‘Good news! Troop horse Tobruk was not injured and is recovering back at the stables after a hard day’s work,’ a police Facebook post later read. 

A man (pictured in yellow singlet) approached the mounted policeman during the chaos and allegedly struck the 13-year-old thoroughbred, which emerged uninjured

A man (pictured in yellow singlet) approached the mounted policeman during the chaos and allegedly struck the 13-year-old thoroughbred, which emerged uninjured

NSW Police posted a photo of a protester (pictured) allegedly punching Tobruk on Saturday evening and pleaded with the public to identify the man

NSW Police posted a photo of a protester (pictured) allegedly punching Tobruk on Saturday evening and pleaded with the public to identify the man

The 13-year-old thoroughbred has been recovering in his stables after being spoilt with gifts like carrots and liquorice (pictured)

The 13-year-old thoroughbred has been recovering in his stables after being spoilt with gifts like carrots and liquorice (pictured)

In a separate post, the NSW Mounted Police posted a photo of the police horse on Facebook as he wound down in his stable after a long day.  

‘Our beautiful brave Tobruk safe and uninjured after his awful encounter today,’ the post read. 

‘Thank you again everyone for your words of support.’  

Tobruk’s rider, Senior Constable Patrick Condon, said on the Today show that he got emotional while reflecting on the moment his beloved horse was struck.

The Commander of the Mounted Unit, Michael Rochester, said he was very disappointed at what he saw on Saturday. 

‘It’s quite a high-intensity environment for the horses, not to mention the police officers, and combined they made an amazing team,’ he said. 

'It's quite a high intensity environment for the horses, not to mention the police officers, and combined they made an amazing team,' the Commander of the Mounted Unit said

‘It’s quite a high intensity environment for the horses, not to mention the police officers, and combined they made an amazing team,’ the Commander of the Mounted Unit said

The commander described the ugly scenes as an 'escalation of violence' and said the riders and horses had done their best to manage the angry crowds

The commander described the ugly scenes as an ‘escalation of violence’ and said the riders and horses had done their best to manage the angry crowds

He said Tobruk had extensive training before his first time at a protest on Saturday.

The commander described the ugly scenes as an ‘escalation of violence’ and said the riders and horses did their best to manage the angry crowds.

Mr Condon said Tobruk was spoilt in the days after the protest and was sent copious amounts of carrots, apples, and liquorice by the public.

‘The support from the public, particularly yesterday when I patrolled out in Manly, people were walking up and offering their support,’ he said.

The NSW Mounted Police posted photos of Tobruk’s gifts on Facebook and said the brave thoroughbred was being ‘extra spoilt’.

‘Sending big virtual hugs to Tobruk and all the brave equine officers. Thank you to each and every one of you,’ one woman commented.

Mr Condon said he had felt emotional reflecting on his beloved horse getting allegedly struck, but felt grateful for the outpour of support from the community

Mr Condon said he had felt emotional reflecting on his beloved horse getting allegedly struck, but felt grateful for the outpour of support from the community

Copious amounts of apples, carrots, chocolate, liquorice and flowers were sent to Tobruk and his buddies at the Mounted Police Unit in Sydney

Copious amounts of apples, carrots, chocolate, liquorice and flowers were sent to Tobruk and his buddies at the Mounted Police Unit in Sydney

‘So lovely for Tobruk to receive these gifts, well deserved, and enough to share with his buddies,’ another said. 

‘This is heartwarming to see the community caring about the horses. Yesterday was frightening,’ a third shared.  

Two men were arrested late on Saturday night and charged with animal cruelty after allegedly striking police horses at the anti-lockdown rally. 

Police attended a unit on Marlborough Street in Surry Hills at 11.20pm, where they arrested a Kristian Pulkownik, 33, who was later charged with animal cruelty and other crimes. 

The second man, Remon Korkise, 36, was arrested at a house on Kalang Road in Edensor Park and also charged with animal cruelty.

Both men were refused bail and appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Sunday. Pulkownik did not apply for bail and spent a second night in jail.

Meanwhile, helicopter vision of the violent moment Tobruk was struck on the nose appears to reveal the protestor did step forward to swing at the horse. 

The man – wearing a yellow vest with the words ‘Free Speech’ written on it – is seen pushing Tobruk away as his rider works to control the crowd. 

He then appears to ready himself for the horse to turn around and swings in the direction of his nose, before officers in the crowd grab him by the shoulders.  

‘Stop defending this guy,’ the helicopter vision is captioned, which was uploaded to TikTok on Sunday and quickly divided social media users. 

While many commentators condemned the act of ‘animal cruelty’, others said the man was simply acting in self defence.  

‘Funny how everyone else managed to get out of the way… but he had to push the horse,’ one user said.  

‘Anyone would have done the same. The copper came towards him!’, another wrote.

Two men were arrested late on Saturday night and charged with animal cruelty after allegedly striking police horses at the anti-lockdown rally

Two men were arrested late on Saturday night and charged with animal cruelty after allegedly striking police horses at the anti-lockdown rally

Commander of the Mounted Police Unit Michael Rochester revealed the anti-lockdown demonstrations on Saturday had been Tobruk's first time at a protest

Commander of the Mounted Police Unit Michael Rochester revealed the anti-lockdown demonstrations on Saturday had been Tobruk’s first time at a protest

The demonstrations, which were also seen in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide were a response to more than half the country’s 25 million people ordered to stay home over an outbreak which began in Sydney’s east.

The protesters in Sydney marched from Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district on Saturday.

They broke through a police barrier to continue down George Street but were stopped at King Street by a heavy police presence, including mounted police and riot officers.

Frenzied crowds were heard shouting ‘freedom’ and anti-vaccine slogans as they swarmed Sydney’s city centre, just moments after NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty declared the area a virus hotspot. 

Police issued a total of 510 infringement notices on Saturday, with the majority of these fines distributed at the protests. 

The demonstrations, which were also seen in Brisbane, Victoria and South Australia were a response to more than half the country's 25million people ordered to stay at home over an outbreak which began in Sydney's east

The demonstrations, which were also seen in Brisbane, Victoria and South Australia were a response to more than half the country’s 25million people ordered to stay at home over an outbreak which began in Sydney’s east

Police issued a total of 510 infringement notices on Saturday, with the majority of these fines distributed at the protests

Police issued a total of 510 infringement notices on Saturday, with the majority of these fines distributed at the protests

About 57 demonstrators were charged during the event, but detectives are working around the clock to identify those who opted against wearing face masks in direct defiance of public health orders. 

There are major concerns that Saturday’s protests will prove to have been a super spreading event, and authorities are calling on the estimated 3,500 people who attended in Sydney to get a Covid test for the sake of the community. 

‘I’m appealing to all 3,500 people to get tested tomorrow, if not for themselves for the sake of their family and friends,’ NSW Police Minister David Elliott said. 

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