Fines ranging from $5,500 to $20,000 have been pushed by the NSW Labor Opposition for protesters planning a second anti-lockdown rally on the weekend. NSW Shadow Police Minister Walt Secord and Shadow Attorney General Michael Daley have urged Premier Gladys Berejiklian to “throw the book at these idiots” who are planning another protest in Sydney on Saturday.
Thousands took to the streets on Saturday to protest the ongoing lockdown restrictions in reaction to Sydney’s growing COVID-19 Delta outbreak. NSW Police confirmed 60 people who attended last weekend’s rally had been arrested and charged with officers issuing 148 infringement notices.
Police Minister David Elliott says most of the people that turned up to protest don’t believe in COVID-19 or vaccines so they are not likely to get tested. Thousands descended on Sydney, and other capitals, last Saturday to protest against the month-long lockdown.
But after the Berejiklian government announced the lockdowns would be extended for a further four weeks, NSW Police indicated a follow-up protests was being planned. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Monday that there was “online chatter” on a possible second protest this Saturday.
Mr Secord and Mr Daley urged the government to slap any organisers with a $20,000 fine, as well as $11,000 fines for people sharing social media information on the “illegal rally and inciting others to illegally attend”. The Labor Party also called for $5,500 fines for “unlawful attendees” - an increase from the current penalty of $1000.
Commissioner Fuller described potential protesters as “anarchists” and said they would not respond to court injunctions. The two Labor frontbenchers said on Wednesday the government must “crackdown” on anti-lockdown rallies through “targeted public health orders”. “We should throw the book at these idiots who spreading misinformation and lies along with the Delta variant,” Mr Secord said.
“A $20,000 fine will smash those who operate on the fringes through their anti-vaxxer and far right-wing networks.” Mr Daley joined his colleague and threw his support behind NSW’s police force and public health workers. “No one should be allowed to swarm, assault, threaten or throw items at the police who are out there enforcing public health orders aimed at saving lives,” he said.
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