Warning issued to would-be protesters: Stay at home or face legal action

Senior police have issued a strong warning to anyone planning to attend an unauthorised protest planned for this weekend that they will face the full force of the law.

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon, Metropolitan Field Operations, was joined by Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott today (Wednesday 18 August 2021), to put would-be protesters on notice.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said the activities of a few could have long-lasting and detrimental impacts to all Sydneysiders.

“The overwhelming majority of people in NSW are doing their bit to turn the COVID case numbers in the right direction and this proposed protest would undermine all that work,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’re temporarily living with restrictions that we all want to see lifted, but the mass gathering of a group of idiots could mean that day moves further into the future.

“I have complete confidence in the work police are doing within Operation Stay at Home and the operational plans for the weekend should reassure the wider community that officers are at the ready to take swift action against anyone not complying with the public health orders,” he said.

As the NSW Police Force continues to monitor online and other commentary in relation to protest activity this weekend, preparations are well underway for a highly visible and mobile police operation to disrupt activities and prevent mass gatherings anywhere in the state.

Deputy Commissioner Lanyon said police are taking the threat of unauthorised protest activity extremely seriously and will not hesitate in the enforcement of the Public Health Orders.

“The Public Health Orders are in place to restrict contact and movement so we can prevent further spread of COVID-19 – getting the number of new cases on a downward trend,” Deputy Commissioner Lanyon said.

“No reasonable person can think that a mass gathering in the current climate is in the best interest of the health and safety of our community – or our goals to get out of lockdown.”

“As well as appealing to the sense of responsibility to rest of the community, I appeal for these people to see common sense and protect their health and that of their loved ones.

“I will state in clearest of terms: any protest activity this weekend is unauthorised. Police have powers under the Crimes Act and the Public Health Act to prevent this type of gathering.

“For those who make the conscious decision to participate in protest activity, you will come into contact with police and significant penalties apply.”