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April 13, 2023
NSW Police were called to the 314-hectare cemetery on Wednesday to a funeral that had more than 10 mourners in attendance.
There were two other burials happening in the same section of the cemetery at about the same time. Under the public health orders, up to 10 people can attend indoor or outdoor funerals, but only if you are a spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling of the deceased person. According to mourners up to 10 police vehicles turned up, knocking on car windows and instructing those in their vehicles that they had to leave.
Tensions escalated, with attendees saying they were frustrated at their inability to even watch their loved ones being buried, let alone fulfil the traditions they hold dear. Four men were arrested as the families pleaded with police to allow them to watch the burials.
NSW police allege that one of the men had become “aggressive” and “threatened an officer”. He has been charged with intimidation of police, use of offensive language in public and a failure to comply with public health orders.
President of the Lebanese Muslim Association, Samier Dandan, said he has written to the state government and the operators of the cemetery about the incident. Mr Dandan said Western Sydney’s Islamic community had been hit extremely hard in this outbreak, and the Lebanese Muslim Association was currently facilitating two to three funerals a day, including those on Wednesday.
ARTICLE: JENNIFER BARRETO-LEYVA
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SF CHRONICLE