An anti-lockdown activist claims he has been banned from speaking about ‘anything related to COVID-19’ after being arrested ahead of the mass Melbourne protests.
James Bartolo, 27, was detained at his Melbourne home on Friday morning after four policemen knocked down his door when he refused to open it.
The former bodybuilder was handcuffed on his lounge room floor in a struggle seconds after police broke inside.
He was charged with incitement for allegedly encouraging his social-media followers to attend the rally.
But following his arrest, Bartolo announced he would not be at the march. He has also revealed he is not allowed to talk about ‘anything related to coronavirus’ or he risks being thrown in jail.
James Bartolo, 27, was detained at his Melbourne home on Friday morning after four policemen knocked down his door when he refused to open it
Anti-lockdown protesters were bombarded with police outside the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday (pictured)
Bartolo urged his followers not to attend the planned protest on Saturday
One man had his shirt ripped off during the violent protests in Melbourne on Saturday. He is seen being led away by police
‘The police have not forced me to say the 5th is cancelled,’ Bartolo wrote on Facebook on Friday.
‘The 5th is a no go for many other reasons that have been covered to death. I say don’t go because I am concerned about the safety of the brave men and women who plan to go.’
‘Although my bail orders say that I cannot speak about anything related to coronavirus or protests.’
Bartolo claimed he is ‘free to speak about anything else’, including paedophile suppression orders, government corruption but not COVID-19.
‘All my posts are monitored so I will have to comply with that until the state of emergency/disaster is over,’ he wrote.
‘I will continue speaking about the wrong in the world, but I’m not going to break that bail order and risk being arrested and locked up.’
‘This part is directly aimed at the team watching me. If you feel I have somehow broken the bail, it won’t be deliberate.’
James Bartolo (pictured) one of the biggest anti-lockdown pushers but in the end he did not attend the event
Officers and Melburnians fall to the ground during dramatic arrests from the anti-lockdown protest on Saturday
One man had a mask forced upon him by Victorian police officers – claiming he was going to the dentist
A standoff between Victorian police officers and coronavirus-deniers is seen outside the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday
‘Please get in contact with me asap to discuss instead of instantly arresting me. That would be much appreciated detective.’
Bartolo runs the Conscious Truth Network group on Facebook which is a hub for a long list of conspiracy theories.
‘Freedom Day’ protests are regularly discussed and promoted by Bartolo and his disciples on the group page.
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters descended on Melbourne and clashed with police officers in wild scenes as the ‘Freedom Day rally spiralled out of control on Saturday.
Frustrated activists, furious with Daniel Andrew’s Stage Four lockdown, turned out in their droves to demand the restrictions come to an end, with new coronavirus cases now in the double digits.
Shocking footage shows the horde of protesters, many refusing to wear masks and battling with police, as the city’s CBD was brought to a standstill as traffic was diverted from the area.
Dramatic scenes saw demonstrators tackled to the ground while officers struggled to detain them.
The protests kicked off at the Shrine of Remembrance but coronavirus-deniers then took to the streets, stopping traffic near Albert Park.
The mass crowds or protesters were outmatched by police who swarmed the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday
One man is seen shouting for the end of lockdown during the wild protests on Saturday. It’s believed dozens have been arrested
One man is seen caught in a scuffle with a Victorian police officer during the protest (pictured on Saturday) with wild scenes caught on camera
One crowd faced off with police on horseback as the chant ‘freedom’ rang out across the city while 17 people were arrested and more than 160 fines given out.
Of those arrests, 14 were for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and one was for assaulting a police officer after a cop was hit round the head as the protests turned violent.
As a result of the protest, a police officer received lacerations to the head after being assaulted by an individual who was in attendance.
Meanwhile protests have erupted in Byron Bay with one onlooker telling Daily Mail Australia crowds were chanting ‘free Victoria’.
One man claimed he was going to see the dentist when confronted by police outside the Shrine of Remembrance.
Police later arrested the man and forced a face mask upon him, The Herald Sun reported.
Officers in riot gear have since descended onto the streets as the protest continues to make its way across the city.
In the lead up to the march, many of the anti-lockdown movement’s most notorious members announced they would no longer attend and urged others to boycott the event.
Police released a statement calling the march ‘disappointing’ and criticising attendees for ‘putting the lives of Victorians at risk’.
One woman with a top reading: ‘Freedom’ was seen being dragged away by two police officers as she desperately tried to fight them off.
One barefooted man was dragged away by police and thrown into a paddy wagon following the protests
Huge numbers gathered together for the protest in Byron Bay on Saturday
Protests have also erupted out of control in Byron Bay, in northern NSW. Residents have held banners reading: ‘free choice for all. Let us decide’
Meanwhile, another man was seen dragged away from the demonstration with his shirt pulled up around his arm.
Despite the hundreds of protesters in attendance, they were no match for the army of police.
It’s believed around 200 people had gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance by Saturday morning, Nine News reported.
Police on horseback have since formed a line along the steps of the building with protesters reportedly throwing punches to break through.
The coronavirus-sceptics armed with ‘end the lockdown’ signs and Australian flags have continued to make their way across the city into Albert Park.
One woman had her sign that read: ‘End the lockdown the people are suffering’ confiscated by police.
The large crowd which has reportedly grown into the thousands has even stopped traffic throughout Melbourne’s CBD.
Police helicopters are circling overhead keeping a watchful eye on the furious protesters below.
Police then clashed with the protester and took away her anti-lockdown signs (pictured) as cops clashed with Melburnians
Married At First Sight star Hayley Vernon (pictured) also attended the protest on Saturday
In Sydney mayhem unfolded as well with another group of protesters arrested.
Hundreds gathered at Hyde Park including boxing champ Anthony Mundine who said the killer disease is just a cover-up.
‘I support people coming together and standing up against injustice. It’s a dictatorship. A tyrannical reign,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph.
‘COVID is just a symptom of 5G radiation – it’s a cover up.’
Three arrests were made at Hyde Park including a 44-year-old man and a 54-year-old for allegedly assaulting police and another woman for failing to comply with a move on notice.
Police also issued $1,000 fines to 18 people for ignoring COVID-19 restrictions.
One man, Sam Hansen, 26, who was also arrested in Sydney on Saturday, said he believed the virus wasn’t real.
‘I’m here because I believe in freedom. I don’t like the lockdown laws. I think the entire COVID cyborg is a massive scam,’ he said.
Other rallies kicked off at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush with demonstrators singing the Australian national anthem.
A woman without a mask is seen holding a sign that reads: ‘End the lockdown the people are suffering’ during Saturday’s protest
A man is placed under arrest at the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday. Many were seen clashing with police
Another man was seen walked away from the demonstration by police officers with his shirt pulled over his arm
The dramatic marches come just one day before Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reveals the ‘road map’ plan for the state out of lockdown, which is due to end at 11.59pm on September 13.
Earlier leaked documents suggested the 8pm-5am curfew and tough restrictions on businesses would continue for another two weeks, with the economy already in a tatters after thousands were forced to close.
According to the leaked documents, residents could be given the luxury of two hours of exercise a day, which can be split into two sessions, from September 14 – the official date Stage Four comes to an end.
The report stated that from September 28, up to five people, including children, from up to two households will be allowed to meet outdoors for social interaction.
Permits will no longer be required for childcare and in-home childminding, according to the document.
Outdoor personal training would be allowed for up to two people per trainer and outdoor pools will open for exercise for up to 20 people at a time.
Officials have insisted the document is ‘out of date’, and that the new rules for coming out of lockdown will be announced on Sunday.
WHAT MELBOURNE’S STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issued, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 5am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare closed
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Community sport: All community sport across Victoria is now banned. Only exercise is allowed within the permitted public gathering limits of two people.