Say it ain’t so. I always thought a lot about Down Under as a place I would love to visit. Many troops spent R&R there and loved it. Sounds to me like OZ could use a Constitution that contained a Bill Of Rights … especially Freedom of Speech.
The arrest Wednesday by police in Australia of a pregnant woman in her home over a Facebook post promoting an anti-lockdown protest has prompted national outrage.
Video of Zoe Buhler, 28, being handcuffed in front of her children and partner was posted on the woman’s Facebook page.
The resident of Miners Rest, a suburb of Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, was charged with incitement and granted bail. She is expected to appear in court Jan. 25.
“What on earth? Excuse me, what on earth?” Buhler is heard asking police.
“I’m in my pajamas. I have an ultrasound in an hour,” she said.
She began to cry and told officers she would “happily” delete her Facebook posts about the “peaceful, freedom day” protest scheduled for Saturday.
But police told her, “You’ve already committed the offense.”
A description of the event said: “As some of you may have seen government has gone to extreme measures and are using scare tactics through the media to prevent the Melbourne protest. Here in Ballarat we can be a voice for those in stage four lockdowns.”
Buhler wrote that attendees must follow restrictions such as wearing masks and social distancing “so we don’t get arrested.”
See the video:
Daily Mail Australia reported similar protest events are planned for Melbourne as anger grows over the state of Victoria’s draconian stage four lockdown, which restricts people to their homes with few exceptions and includes a nightly curfew.
Ballarat is at a lower level of restriction, stage three, in which religious services of any size are banned, weddings can have a maximum of five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant), and funerals are restricted to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the ceremony.
‘National day of shame’
Sky News host Rowan Dean, calling Buhler’s arrest a “national day of shame,” said he was bombarded with calls from people all over Australia “absolutely horrified by that video.”
“I don’t care what your emergency laws are. I don’t care what your lockdown special police think they are doing,” Dean said.
He urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take immediate action against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“Scott Morrison, enough is enough, step in now, boot this clown Andrews out of the National Cabinet,” he said.
“Finally stand up and say we are not going to have pregnant women arrested in their own homes for posting online a legitimate political point of view,” he said. “Scott Morrison show some bloody leadership.”
Sky News pundit Alan Jones also has called on Andrews to resign.
“Thankfully I am not the only Australian who thinks this is appalling, disgusting and disgraceful,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “The only person guilty of incitement is the Premier of Victoria.”
Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia that anybody thinking of “attending the protest … can expect a swift and firm response from police.”
“We will have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines to anyone who is breaching the restrictions on the day, or making arrests if necessary.”
The police claimed the protest would put lives at risk.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticized Australia’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and accused Andrews of wanting to extend a “health dictatorship.”