Police threaten Sydney anti-lockdown protesters with huge fines, arrests
Police are threatening big fines for anti-lockdown protesters this weekend after charging 60 people over Saturday’s demonstration.
A strike force has received 15,000 reports to Crime Stoppers following Saturday’s protests with a further 148 people copping fines.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said social media groups were being monitored by intelligence officers to get ahead of any planned protests.
“We’re certainly in possession of information that people are considering a follow-up protest to that conducted last Saturday, can I say to you that we have deployed significant intelligence assets and other police methodology has been deployed to gather as much information about those activities as possible,” he said. “Police have well and truly planned for any eventuality … should there be a protest this weekend, there will be sufficient numbers to take appropriate action right across the board. We will not tolerate those types of actions.”
He said that includes proactively stopping people from coming into the city.
Saturday’s rally descended into chaos with some protesters seen spitting at media and others proudly waving ‘Western Sydney Lives matter’ placards as well over 10,000 people flocked to the heart of the city.
Just days after receiving his second fine for breaching the Public Health Order, former boxer Anthony Mundine was spotted at the rally.
He has already been fined twice for refusing to wear a mask in Bunnings and for travelling to Ballina, in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
Police Minister David Elliott said if people were not arrested on the day police would hunt them down after any protest.
“The fact that we have had nearly two reports for every person who attended last week‘s rally suggests to me that there is zero tolerance out there for people who want to do the wrong thing,” Mr Elliott said. “Just assume when you’re involved in this sort of illegal activity that puts your health at risk, one of your mates is going to dob you in.”
“I don’t want anyone going around thinking we have become a nation of dobbers, what we are is a nation of family lovers,” he said. “We are a nation that wants to make sure that we get out of this pandemic and restrictions as swiftly as possible.”
He said there would soon be an announcement about penalties for taking part in the protest.
“I think you’ll find the premier and the health Minister have already had discussions about penalties and there will be further announcements about that very soon,” Mr Elliott said.
“It saddens us as a government to have to fine individuals who are just being asked to comply with laws that will make their lives safer and healthier.”
NSW Labor MP Walt Secord has called for harsh new fines to “smash those who operate on the fringes through their anti-vaxxer and far right-wing networks”.
His proposal would have protest organisers fined $20,000, those sharing protest information online fined $11,000 and attendees hit with $5000 fines.
Originally published as Huge crackdown on lockdown protesters