Police have been door knocking houses in southwest Sydney amid fears another violent anti-lockdown rally could erupt again in the city on Saturday.
The blitz across locked-down areas in Sydney occurred as taxi and rideshare companies were instructed by NSW Police to refuse transport to anyone wanting to travel into the central business district tomorrow unless they had a hospital emergency.
Social media pages have flagged more action on Saturday, a week after 3,500 demonstrators, many from locked-down council areas, marched from Victoria Park towards Town Hall.
Police have been door knocking houses in south-west Sydney amid fears another anti-lockdown rally could erupt again in the city on Saturday. Victor, a south-west Sydney resident, posted footage on his Exercising My Rights Facebook of two officers (pictured) from the Liverpool police station asking if he knew about any planned rally
So far, 61 people have been charged with disobeying a public health order on July 24.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Friday warned 1,000 officers would be deployed to confront any protesters on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, an exclusion zone will be set up around the city from Milsons Point on the Lower North Shore to Zetland in the south, Darling Point in the east and Camperdown in the inner west, banning taxi drivers from taking passengers.
From 9am to 3pm on Saturday, passengers will only be allowed into the city if they have an appointment or an emergency requiring treatment at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst or Royal Prince Alfred in Camperdown.
Victor, a south-west Sydney resident, posted footage on his Exercising My Rights Facebook page of two officers from the Liverpool police station asking if he knew about any planned rally.
‘We’re just doing some private tasking in relation to the upcoming protests that may or may not be happening on Saturday,’ a male constable said behind a screen door.
‘I don’t know anything about it,’ Victor replied.
The male constable, with his female colleague standing behind him replied: ‘No worries pal.
‘Mate, they just give us this bit of paper and ask us to ask you a couple of questions: so are you aware of any planned protests or event this weekend in Sydney?’
Victor exercised his right to saying nothing.
‘I don’t actually have to answer any of these questions, do I?’ he said.
The officer replied: ‘No, no, of course not, mate. These are just questions. If you’re refusing to answer, just say so.’
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Friday warned 1,000 officers would be deployed to confront any protesters on Saturday (pictured are police at the July 24 rally at Victoria Park)
Victor then asked the officers if they enjoyed this line of work.
‘Do you guys actually like doing this?’
The male officer ignored that remark and asked another question.
‘Are you aware of any communications circulating between people about planned protests?’
Again Victor refused.
With New South Wales recording 170 new locally-acquired Covid cases overnight, the state government fears another rally in defiance of a public health order will be a super-spreader event.
A taxi industry manager told Daily Mail Australia the NSW Police on Friday morning gave all cab and rideshare companies prohibition notices banning them from transporting them into the CBD within the exclusion zone.
‘I’ve had to tell all my staff to refuse to take any bookings that are going into the city,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
On Saturday morning, an exclusion zone will be set up around the city from Milsons Point on the Lower North Shore to Zetland in the south, Darling Point in the east and Camperdown in the inner west, banning taxi drivers from taking passengers (pictured is a protester at Victoria Park on July 24)
‘We have messages going out to all of our drivers that if their destination is anywhere in that exclusion zone, we can’t take them.’
The taxi industry source said there was a grey area around medical appointments beyond a hospital emergency requiring treatment at St Vincent’s or RPA.
‘It’s a bit of a grey area, I’m not 100 per cent sure,’ he said.
‘I can probably take a booking for somebody saying they’re going to a doctor’s appointment but whether or not they’re going to give us permission to actually get into that red zone, I don’t know.’
Residents who live in eight council areas in south-west and western Sydney – Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Blacktown, Cumberland, Georges River, Parramatta and Campbelltown – are banned from leaving their area for work unless they are employed in the health, aged care or emergency services sectors.
The taxi industry source said 90 per cent of his drivers lived in those areas and made very little from transporting customers within their local government area.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant confirmed authorities were still investigating whether a Covid-positive person had attended last Saturday’s protest
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant confirmed authorities were still investigating whether a Covid-positive person had attended last Saturday’s protest.
A 35-year-old man from Granville, in Sydney’s west, was caught more than 20km away at the city’s central station by police targeting protesters, despite being subject to stay-at-home orders as a resident of the Parramatta and Cumberland council areas.
The man, who was fined $1,000 dollars, was directed home and tested positive to COVID the next day.
‘We’re just working with police to ascertain whether that person did attend. The police did indicate they had turned the person around and they had given an infringement notice,’ Dr Chant told reporters.
‘If that person would have attended the protest, they would have been infectious.’
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said if the COVID-positive man had attended the rally, ‘he was effectively carrying a deadly weapon, he was carrying the virus’.