North West Region Police made a number of local arrests and issued 37 penalty infringement notices (PINs) following unauthorised protest activity in Hawkesbury, The Hills and Blacktown City on Tuesday.
In all, 79 anti-lockdown protests were coordinated across the state at local council chambers and NSW Parliament House, with a total of 153 people arrested and 573 PINs issued. Many of the arrested were released after officers established their identity.
Charges related to various breaches of the public health order, assault police, resist arrest, refusing to comply with police direction, and failing to move on.
PINS were issued for not wear fitted masked covering in prescribed outdoor gathering ($500), not comply with noticed direction re s7/8/9 – COVID-19 ($1000), and unlawfully participate in outdoor public gathering – stay at home order ($3000).
Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale, was furious people broke the rules and thanked Blacktown Police for handling the situation.
“Make no mistake, this was an illegal gathering. As Mayor, I am furious that these people put themselves, and others at risk, by breaking all of the rules that we have all been patiently observing, as responsible citizens,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“With the help of Council staff, there was no damage to Council property or to local businesses.
“I thank all of our responsible residents – they have done their community proud by lifting our vaccination rates to some of the highest in Australia.”
In neighbouring Hills Shire, Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne called the protest attended by 30 people at council’s administration building “unfortunate”.
“It’s a tough time, and I know there are people out there struggling. I can also see why people are becoming frustrated with the lengthy lockdown and the restrictions that are in place to keep us safe.
“But we must remain positive and look at al the incredible work we’ve been doing to keep our family, friends and the most vulnerable protected from this highly transmissible disease.”
More than 900 officers conducted high-visibility patrols of the sites, comprising general duties police supported by the Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Police Transport Command, the Dog and Mounted Unit, and other specialist units.
North West Region activity included:
- Blacktown Council: 5 arrested and 20 PINs issued
- The Hills Council: 6 arrested and 9 PINs issued
- Hawkesbury City Council: 8 PINs issued
- Hornsby Council: 3 arrested and 3 PINs issued
- Penrith Council and MP office: 3 arrested and 43 PINs issued
- Katoomba Council: 10 PINs issued
- Mosman Council: Up to 15 people dispersed on police arrival
- Ryde Council: 1 arrested and 5 PINs issued
- Dee Why Council and Mona Vale Library: 3 arrested and 20 PINs issued.
Image: NSW Police.