Sam Armytage has blasted the Victoria Police officers who threatened to arrest two elderly women sitting on a park bench during Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown.
Dramatic footage of the heavy-handed confrontation, first obtained by Daily Mail Australia, showed five officers surrounding the frail women on Saturday.
Officers ordered them to stand up, threatened to arrest them for not providing their details and then snatched one of their phones when they started filming the ordeal.
A fired-up Armytage spoke to the footage on Sunrise on Tuesday morning and compared the incident – and the city’s current Stage Four lockdown – to China.
‘Victorians are sick to death of this’: Sam Armytage blasted Dan Andrews for extending Melbourne’s lockdown and said footage of two elderly women being confronted by police reminded her of China
‘What is this, China? You are getting arrested for filming things?’ she said.
‘Yes they were not meant to be sitting there under the rules. Who is making these rules? It is ridiculous.’
Armytage was joined by Justice Party leader Derryn Hinch and journalist Sharri Markson to debate the draconian measures.
Hinch said he agreed with the action taken by Victoria Police.
‘I’m on the cop’s side, they’re doing it tough down here. We’re all doing it tough down here,’ he said.
‘If they ask you for your name and address then you must provide it.
‘I don’t care if you’re 17 or 70, by doing what you’re doing, protesting last weekend, you’re putting not only your own lives at risk, you’re putting my life at risk. You’re putting everybody’s life at risk.’
Five officers were filmed by a bystander swarming around two elderly women sitting on a park bench in the Victorian capital on Saturday
Markson bit back at Hinch’s comments, declaring the two women were not impacting anyone’s life by sitting on a park bench.
‘They are not risking your life by sitting on a park bench,’ she said.
‘It reminds me of those scenes in Sydney when we had the first pandemic and those two mums – one of them was breastfeeding – and the police made them move on as well.
‘This is just too heavy-handed.’
Armytage was then forced to interject as her two guests continued to talk over each other.
The Sunrise host said she refused to call Premier Daniel Andrews’ proposal out of coronavirus lockdown a ‘road map’.
‘Because road map suggests there is a plan and this is not necessarily a plan,’ she said.
‘We saw protests in Melbourne last weekend, there’s going to be more this weekend.
‘Victorians are sick to death of this and there is going to be civil disobedience.’
Armytage was joined by Justice Party leader Derryn Hinch and journalist Sharri Markson to debate the draconian measures
Pictured: Melburnians in face masks sit in the city on Monday
Markson said the protests were ‘irresponsible’ during a pandemic and agreed the premier did not provide an adequate roadmap.
Mr Andrews outlined his four-step plan for the state to return to normality on Sunday, with some restrictions to be tweaked from midnight next Sunday.
But Melbourne will remain under a nightly curfew and people will be unable to leave their homes for non-essential reasons until at least October 26.
The lockdown will lift on that date if the average number of new cases falls below five and there are fewer than five unknown source cases.
Up to five visitors from a nominated household and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will also be allowed.
Armytage said Victorians would continue to fight the extended measures.
‘People are going to start breaking out. People are going to break the rules because they don’t agree with what’s going on and the rest of the country doesn’t agree either,’ she said.
The TV personality added she was not blaming Victorians for their frustrations.
‘We all feel desperately sorry for you and we’re all understanding why people are trying to break out.
‘This is your government that has absolutely stuffed this up from the beginning and we feel so desperately frustrated on your behalf that we’re trying to fight the fight here.’
Pictured: Residents wait for a tram on Bourke Street in Melbourne on Sunday
Saturday’s incident happened while a ‘Freedom Day’ protest took place in Melbourne
In the police confrontation video, one of the elderly women pulled her phone out to record the encounter.
A male police officer stood behind her and snatched the device from her hand.
‘Excuse me, you have no right to seize my property,’ the woman yelled.
Victoria Police were unable to confirm whether the woman was arrested.
A police spokesman said: ‘Generally speaking, it is an offence to not provide your name and details to police when they believe you have either committed or are about to commit an offence.
‘As part of their powers, police have the ability to remove items from a person’s possession where necessary to effect an arrest.’
Officers and Melburnians fall to the ground during dramatic arrests from the anti-lockdown protest on Saturday
Saturday’s incident happened while a ‘Freedom Day’ protest took place in the city.
Police said seven people were charged with breaching COVID-19 directions after some 200 people gathered to protest near the city centre.
Scuffles between demonstrators and police resulted in more than 160 fines for contravening lockdown measures or not wearing a mask.
‘Despite all the warnings, it was disappointing to see individuals turn out to protest in the city, putting the lives of Victorians at risk,’ a police statement said.
Victoria Police charged a protester with assault after an officer suffered cuts to the head during the anti-lockdown rally.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records