Three police officers entered a family home in regional Victoria on Sept. 2 with a search warrant to seize equipment. They arrested 28-year-old pregnant mother Zoe Buhler, after identifying her as the Facebook host of a Freedom Day event scheduled for Sept. 5.
“Police executed a search warrant at a Miners Rest address this afternoon, and a mobile device was seized,” a police statement emailed to Epoch Times read.
Buhler was charged with encouraging others to commit an offence, which is an act of incitement. Buhler’s arrest was part of an ongoing investigation to clamp down on planned and prohibited gatherings in Victoria.
Regional Victoria is currently under stage three restrictions to combat the rising cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. People are only allowed out their homes for essential shopping, work, caregiving or exercise with no more than one other person. Masks are also mandatory.
Buhler was released early on Sept. 3 with bail conditions banning her from using social media reported Nine News.
Speaking to reporters outside her home in Ballarat after her release, Buhler said the police were quite nice to her in the end.
“They did end up taking the handcuffs off and let me get dressed,” she said.
A video of Buhler’s arrest has gone viral online, with over 5 million views. The online footage shows Buhler being handcuffed in her pyjamas in front of her children and partner.
Buhler noted that the police officers admitted to Buhler they were not happy about the arrest but: “They just have to do their job at the moment.”
Asked why she wanted to protest against lockdown, Buhler said: “Sorry … I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to (protest in regional Victoria),”
“I just wanted to feel like I was doing something—standing up for human rights.”
Buhler who is among many Victorians who have lost their jobs due to the economic slump caused by the restrictions said she is sick of the lockdowns, and hearing about suicides.
“I’m sick of watching the economy collapse,” she said.
In light of her experience, Buhler said she would not encourage others to protest anymore.
“It’s sad though, I wish I could, but I don’t want to encourage it and then watch people be hurt if they do go and protest if there are forceful arrests,” she explained.
Buhler is due to face Ballarat Magistrates Court on Jan. 25, 2021.
North West Metro Region Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has defended the actions of his officers. Admitting that arresting the pregnant woman looked terrible but the officers were polite and professional.
“When the individual indicated she may be late for an appointment at the hospital, our members actually contacted the hospital and made arrangements for an alternative appointment,” he said.
“While this deadly virus doesn’t discriminate, we won’t discriminate. And we can’t discriminate in holding people to account,” said Cornelius.