An anti-lockdown protester has admitted his friends have deserted him over his controversial views about how Australia should be fighting the Covid pandemic.
Romeo Georges was one of the more than 3,500 demonstrators who swarmed into Sydney’s CBD on Saturday demanding an end the Harbour City’s lockdown as it battles the highly-infectious Delta strain.
Violent clashes erupted between police and unmasked protesters, who packed close together chanting anti-vax slogans and holding signs demanding freedom while spouting conspiracy theories.
Footage posted on social media shows Mr Georges, who hails from the city’s Covid-hit western suburbs, breaching stay-at-home orders to attend the rally as he issued a message to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Western Sydney anti-lockdown protester Romeo (pictured) has revealed his controversial view opposing NSW’s measures to combat the Covid pandemic has cost him friends
‘She [Ms Berejiklian] thinks she can lock out the west. We run Sydney!’ he jeers.
‘You don’t know what it means to be a wog!’ he adds, referring to Ms Berejiklian’s Armenian ancestry.
The rallies sparked widespread public outrage as they threaten to derail the city’s fight against the Delta outbreak.
Now, Mr Georges has revealed even his closest friends believe he is an ‘idiot’ because of his unorthodox beliefs.
‘My closest friends, when I look into their eyes I can see that they believe I’m an idiot, a dope,’ he says in a video posted on YouTube.
‘In recent weeks, their theories of me, I am starting to believe myself. I have lost my mates.
‘They are still part of my life but I have lost them in the way I used to have them. I am no longer considered to them the “old Romeo”. Now, I am just a looney tune.
‘And believe it or not, they are right.’
A video of Romeo (pictured) went viral, showing him declaring ‘we run Sydney’ during Saturday’s protest
The ‘freedom fighter’ announced he was shutting down his social media accounts after copping backlash over his posts, which include anti-vaccination sentiments and claims the pandemic is a scam.
Mr Georges said his friends made excuses when asked to attend protests, and claimed their failure to join him contributed to the tighter restrictions rolled out across Sydney.
‘When I yelled and screamed on social media, I was made out to be an “idiot”, a “lunatic”,’ he says.
‘When I asked you all to get to protests, I was told “I have to take my wife somewhere”, “I have a doctors appointment”, “the kids have football”, “the protests don’t mean anything”.
‘Now I am hearing “we want to be part of the protest”, but we got here because when I asked you to join me the first time you were too busy.’
The video, which racked up more than 3,200 views, was posted online on July 26 – six days before the mass demonstration in Sydney’s CBD.
More than 3,500 protester’s stormed the streets of Sydney’s CBD on Saturday demanding an end to the city’s lockdown
Despite disinterest from friends, Mr Georges was not dissuaded from attending the protest, with other videos posted online showing the demonstrator being lifted up by his cheering supporters as he waved an Australian flag in the air.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Georges for comment.
The admission comes as NSW recorded 239 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Thursday – the highest daily figure the state has ever seen.
Authorities fear the marches may have been ‘superspreader’ events and are bracing for case numbers to surge in coming days.
Ms Berejiklian previously said she was ‘utterly disgusted’ by attendees’ actions, describing them as ‘selfish’ while millions of other residents follow the rules.
On Wednesday, the Premier announced the lockdown would be extended by four weeks – to August 28 – as authorities still grapple with climbing case numbers.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Sydneysiders have flocked to social media to slam the protesters.
‘Do the anti mask/lockdown protesters in Sydney today realise they probably just added another couple months onto our lockdown?’ one tweet read.
‘Shoulder-to-shoulder with a variant that seems to be able to effectively transmit outdoors. Y’all gonna play yourselves.’
Violent clashes erupted between police and demonstrators, who were filmed pelting objects at officers. Pictured: a protester is tackled into a garden bed during demonstration in Sydney
One woman said she was livid to see protesters flouting restrictions while she has been unable to visit her hospitalised daughter.
‘F*** I am mad. Fine them all,’ she wrote.
NSW police swiftly set up Strike Force Seasoned to track down all attendees at Saturday’s protest.
So far, 63 protesters have been charged with various offences and more arrests are expected. More than 250 public infringement notices have already been issued.
Crime Stoppers NSW has received more than 10,000 tips from the public after NSW Ms Berejiklian and police minister David Elliott urged residents to dob in those who posted footage of themselves at the protest.
Strike force detectives are also analysing footage from social media, CCTV and police body cameras to identify more.