NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has come out swinging over the illegal anti-lockdown march by protesters in the Sydney city centre on Saturday.
“I am utterly disgusted by the illegal protestors in the city today whose selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us,” she said.
Her comments were a response to the more than 3,500 people who gathered to voice their anger over ongoing lockdowns aimed at fighting the outbreak of the Delta-variant of the Covid virus in the state.
“The protestors have shown utter contempt for their fellow citizens who are currently doing it tough,” the Premier said.
Premier promises tough legal action against protestors
“I want to thank the brave police officers who put their own safety on the line to ensure the protest action ceased.
“This type of activity during lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought against anyone who engages in [such] illegal activity.”
NSW Police earlier said a high-visibility policing operation was launched in response to unauthorised protest activity in Sydney’s CBD about noon on Saturday. This was to ensure the safety of participants, as well as the community and local businesses.
A strike force has subsequently been set up to hunt down the protesters who gathered at Sydney’s Victoria Park, opposite Broadway shopping centre, after marching into the CBD.
NSW Police issued over 90 infringement notices to people at the demonstration, charged 57 people, and say more arrests are likely.
Police minister calls protestors ‘very selfish boofheads’
Police minister David Elliott was no less scything in his comments, calling the protestors “very selfish boofheads – people that thought the law didn’t apply to them”.
“This is not a time for people to be out of their homes. This was a disgraceful action today.” he said.
The Sydney crowd clashed with dozens of officers as demonstrations of varying sizes took place in major centres around the country.
Demonstrations were also held in Melbourne, Brisbane and various towns. About 500 people took part in the protest in Wollongong, NSW.
Greater Sydney and its surrounding areas have been in lockdown for four weeks as the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.