Anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday.
Just as it seems like Sydneysiders could be able to get out of lockdown, some people went and fucked the whole thing up.
On Saturday, July 24, thousands of people flocked to Sydney’s CBD to protest the NSW State Government’s lockdown penalties.
The protesters marched from Broadway to Town Hall, with many openly disobeying the new rules regarding public gatherings and wearing face masks.
Many could be heard chanting “freedom”, while others became violent, openly brawling with police officers and throwing objects at them.
im not discrediting how hard lockdown has been on all of us and any effort is worth it, especially now but this protest going ahead today is IN MY OPINION counterintuitive as everyone will only make things worse for Sydney
— B. (@bozpupovac) July 24, 2021
Of the protesters, two men, a 33-year-old from Surry Hills, and a 36-year-old from Edensor Park, were arrested for allegedly attacking police horses. Both men were charged with animal cruelty and were refused bail.
As of now, police have arrested sixty-three people in relation to the event. A task force has been established to track down the rest of the protesters.
According to the ABC, the task force will consist of twenty-two detectives who will work alongside other officers to examine footage of the event. This includes “social media footage” received from the public and CCTV feeds from the surrounding area.
Meanwhile, TikTok sensation, 24-year-old Jon-Bernard Kairouz, “has been issued a court attendance notice by NSW Police” after footage of him at Saturday’s protest made its way onto social media.
The attendance notice comes with “a penalty infringement notice” in addition to him being charged with “two counts of not comply[ing] with noticed direction and encourage[ing] the commission of crimes”. Kairouz’s case is scheduled for September at Bankstown Local Court.
Jon-Bernard “TikTok guy” Kairouz’s first video after being arrested for participating in the Sydney protest
— Brad Stephenson☕️ (@Shuttlecock) July 25, 2021
Kairouz became a recognisable figure within the state’s COVID-19 conversation after videos of him accurately predicting the number of infectious cases went viral.
The video of Kairouz at the protest showed the comedian speaking to the crowd with a megaphone. Dubbing himself “the People’s Premier”, Kairouz openly spread misinformation and speculation on how the protest will affect the state moving forward.
“I must say I’ve crunched the numbers; I don’t think the cases are going to go up tomorrow. But from what I’ve calculated there’s over 50,000 people here today,” said Kairouz before declaring that the protesters only want freedom.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian condemned the protests, labelling the attendees as “selfish”.
“Millions and millions of people across our state are doing the right thing, and it just broke my heart that people had such a disregard for their fellow citizens … Can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart.”
David Elliott, the NSW Police Minister, was blunter in his condemnation of the protests. “What we saw today was 3500 very selfish boofheads — people that thought the law didn’t apply to them.”