Australian anti-lockdown protest organizer arrested after demonstrators clash with police

Harrison McLean, one of the organizers of the anti-lockdown movement in Australia has been arrested and charged with incitement. McLean took to social media on Sunday morning to say that he had been arrested at his home.

Since 25-year-old Harrison McLean told his 13,000 followers of his incitement charge, Victoria police confirmed the news. This arrest was not in connection with last week’s protests but instead a different rally that took place on September 18, one which saw hundreds of people clash with police in the streets. Following the demonstration, 235 were arrested, while ten officers were injured and six were hospitalized. At that time, police noted several items such as stones and bottles were thrown at them.  

McLean wrote to his followers: “I have accepted bail conditions for release, which including [sic] following [the chief health officer’s] directions and refraining from promoting Freedom Events that contravene directions.”

Back in March, the Guardian reported that McLean, a Monash University graduate and former competitive cheerleader, had been running a large anti-lockdown group. While previously he had been using a pseudonym, McLean, who describes himself as a “libertarian populist,” recently began operating under his real name online.

Some of his followers, though, have been critical of his actions, specifically his planning of a failed protest on Friday. Another called him a “sellout” following his announcement that he accepted his bail conditions.

Although the country had been virtually free of the coronavirus since the middle of 2020, one case of the delta variant sparked an “outbreak” that led to increasingly strict lockdown rules. The lockdown in Sydney was supposed to last two weeks, but it has extended far beyond that sunset date.

Earlier in September, plans had been announced outlining a reopening strategy, which followed a national plan for all of the country to reopen at 70 percent and 80 percent vaccination levels. At that time, 64 percent of adults had received at least one dose.  




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