Liberal Democratic Party MP David Limbrick has called for fines issued at the Nov. 3 anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne to be rescinded because protesters were “falsely imprisoned” while being charged for breaching the Chief Health Officer’s (CHO) orders.
During a “Freedom Day” rally outside Victoria’s parliament house last week victorian police forcefully surrounded protesters using an enforcement tactic called “kettling”, arresting 404 individuals and issuing 395 fines for alleged CHO breaches including for gathering in groups larger than 10.
Upper house crossbencher, Limbrick said the state Attorney-General, Jill Hennessy should to tell the courts to throw out the fines, given that protesters were “not allowed to socially distance” and put in danger by police.
“Considering that people were falsely imprisoned and held in a dangerous situation, I urge the Attorney General to rescind the fines that were handed out at the protest outside state parliament on November 3,” Limbrick said at a Victoria Legislative Council sitting on Nov. 10.
Protestors were held in tight groups for over three hours without being informed of what the charges were against them and restrained from leaving.
From within the kettle, Limbrick said he witnessed one woman have a panic attack, people being capsicum sprayed “for no apparent reason,” and a praying man arrested violently.
The Parliament of Victoria’s upper house on Nov. 3, 2017. in Melbourne, Australia. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)During question time of the upper house meeting, Limbrick asked for the Victorian government to explain who ordered the kettling tactic.
“I’ve since learned that the chief health officer did not authorise this, although we were fined for not following his directions. My question is this what is the name of the person who authorised these tactics,” he said.
Over a thousand Melburnians gathered outside Parliament to raise their concerns of the human rights violations which have ensued from government lockdown measures to combat the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus commonly known as coronavirus.
Limbrick, who was one of the people fined at the rally, has previously said that human rights don’t disappear just because we’re in a pandemic and governments need to be reminded of that.
Meanwhile, the state’s health minister, Martin Foley opposed this view, citing that keeping people safe is more important than the democratic right to protest.
Victoria has recorded 12 days of zero new COVID-19 infections and deaths. The virus has an incubation period of two weeks, so it is unknown if there have been any community transmission from the protest.