Anti-lockdown protesters have fought back against the police state armed with fruit and slogan, as the Victorian police arrested another organiser for ‘incitement’.
Yesterday, the bland tableau of franchise coffee and erstwhile browsing was shattered with the sound of cloven-hoofed policepeople trampling on the toes of the nation’s pulsing sinus headache.
74 anti-lockdown protesters were arrested at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, with most chanting “Power to the people” and some deciding to pelt the constabulary with fruit as they closed in.
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) September 13, 2020
The outnumbered mass yelled “this is not a police state” and “you’ve got to be on the right side of history”. As a result, the Victorian police handed out 176 infringement notices. Interestingly, they also searched the residence of a 44-year-old in Burwood East. Believed to be one of the organisers of the protest, he remains in police custody and is expected to be charged with incitement. The offence of “incitement” criminalises behaviour that encourages others to commit a crime before the crime takes place.
Interestingly, the incitement need not be acted on for an offence to be committed. So it is enough, in the context of say, murder, that the “inciter” encourages another person to commit murder, even if that crime does not actually take place.
Using the Victorian Crimes Act as an example, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that “the accused person incited another to do something that would result in the commission of a criminal offence and at the time of the conduct, the accused had an intention that the offence would occur.”
The meaning of “incitement” in legislation is very broad. For instance, the Victorian Crimes Act defines “incite” as to command, request, propose, advise, encourage or authorise.
A spokesperson said police were “disappointed that many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers”.
“Our investigations into this protest will continue, and we expect to issue further fines once the identity of individuals has been confirmed,” they said.
“While it remains unlawful for Victorians to leave home to protest, you can expect that Victoria Police will hold people to account. Anyone thinking of attending a protest can expect the same swift and firm response from police as has consistently occurred in relation to such behaviour.”
According to The Guardian, “Some demonstrators appeared to hold beliefs associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is increasingly popular among anti-lockdown agitators. A man filmed by a Channel Nine reporter yelled at police that they were not doing enough to curb paedophilia, a staple of the conspiracy.”
— Lana Murphy (@LanaMurphy) September 13, 2020
Other protesters had disclosed to various media outlets that they had travelled from regional Victoria and even interstate to attend the protest. According to Facebook, protesters plan to gather every Saturday until restrictions are eased.
Yesterday, the state reported 41 new cases and seven further deaths, bringing the state’s overall death toll to 723.