A fed-up MP has hit out at Sydneysiders planning to attend anti-lockdown protests this weekend as an alleged ‘rally leader’ is arrested for a breach of health orders.
Federal MP Melissa McIntosh didn’t hold back as she slammed protestors plotting to gather in the city on Saturday to demand an end to the state-wide lockdown.
The member for Lindsay in Sydney’s Covid-hit western suburbs said case numbers had skyrocketed since the last Freedom Day rally held on July 24.
‘It is absolutely rubbish that anyone would be thinking about putting themselves, their family members and their community at risk,’ she told Ben Fordham on 2GB.
Federal MP Melissa McIntosh has blasted Sydneysiders planning to attend anti-lockdown protests in the city this weekend (pictured, protestors arrested at Hyde Park on July 24)
The member for Lindsay in Sydney’s Covid-hit western suburbs said it was ‘absolutely rubbish’ that protestors would put their communities at risk (pictured, police and ADF in Bankstown)
Ms McIntosh said the ultra-hard lockdown in Sydney’s west and southwest was having a significant impact on residents’ mental health.
She said despite the punishing conditions the community knew strict stay-at-home orders were necessary in breaking free of a never-ending cycle of lockdowns.
‘We all want to see our family. My dad’s 85 today and I’d love to be able to celebrate,’ Ms McIntosh said.
‘But we have to remember we are doing this to protect our older people and family members.’
Meanwhile, an alleged leader and organiser of a proposed anti-lockdown protest in central Sydney this weekend has been arrested for failing to comply with NSW public health orders.
The Queensland-based Victorian man, aged 29, allegedly breached public health orders by driving to Sydney last weekend.
NSW Police say he was staying at a North Sydney hotel but was located on Thursday afternoon at Hornsby train station.
He allegedly told officers he was lost and couldn’t give a reasonable excuse for travelling to Hornsby.
The man has been charged with failing to comply with public health orders, encouraging the commission of crimes and making false representations prompting police involvement.
He’ll appear at Hornsby Local Court on Friday.
An alleged ‘rally leader’ and organiser has been arrested for failing to comply with NSW public health orders (pictured, a police blockade on King Street in Newtown)
Authorities have warned potential attendees of the protest to expect heavy police presence at the rally, which is scheduled for midday in Victoria Park.
Earlier this week NSW Police sent a stark warning to anyone who planned on attending the illegal event to expect to be fined or arrested.
‘Police are aware of unauthorised protest activities planned for this weekend. Do NOT attend,’ NSW Police posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
‘Public safety is our first priority and you will be fined or arrested if you turn up #StayAtHome.’
Despite the fierce warnings, rally organisers continue to encourage participants on social media and complain they are being targeted, news.com.au reported.
‘As the totalitarian globalist machine continues to roll over humanity, police and government agencies are increasingly targeting those who refuse to obey in an effort to crush the freedom movement and silence the growing voice of dissent,’ organisers wrote on the events page.
‘Protest organisers in particular have been targeted for various forms of harassment and attempted intimidation. These actions will not stop us.’
Earlier in the week NSW Police sent a stark warning to those planning to attend protests, threatening fines and arrests (pictured, police and ADF in Bankstown)
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said on Wednesday the public health orders were a restriction on movement, not on free speech.
‘You can still protest. If you want to protest against the government, go online, start a petition, join social media, ring talkback radio, write a letter to the editor of a newspaper,’ he said.
‘There are plenty of ways for you to express your emotions right now without putting people’s lives at risk.’
The scheduled protest comes more than three weeks after the original Freedom Day rally in Sydney’s CBD, which saw violent clashes between attendees and police.
More than 3,500 protesters marched the streets holding posters and chanting, while copycat events were seen replicated in Victoria, Brisbane and South Australia.
In anticipation of this weekends events, 1000 police officers will be dispersed throughout central Sydney to defuse any illegal activity.
Rumours of protests scheduled for this weekend come more than three weeks after the original Freedom Day rally on July 24 which saw violent clashes between attendees and police (pictured, a police checkpoint along Woodville Road in Guilford)
The NSW Police Minister acknowledged the frustrations surrounding the public health orders and said no one would be happier than him to see them end.
”We hate them. We think it is infringement of our liberties, but this infringement of our liberties is going to ensure that we get out of this lockdown before summer and life can get back to normal,’ Mr Elliot said.
Meanwhile Metropolitan Field Operations Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon warned Sydneysiders there would be a cohort of police that ‘has not been seen for quite a number of years’ on the streets this weekend.
On Thursday, NSW recorded 642 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths, with at least 41 of the new cases infectious while in the community.
Last Saturday, a staggering 529 fines were handed out across the state for breaches of the public health order on Saturday, with 29 people charged.