Police disrupt planned Covid protests across NSW

Police have prevented the mass gathering of people in various locations across NSW, arresting 32 people and issuing 265 Penalty Infringement Notices in a coordinated and mobile response to planned protest activity.

Earlier today (Saturday 18 September 2021), a high-visibility policing operation was launched across Sydney and parts of regional NSW, to prevent, disrupt and respond to any mass gathering or protest activity.

More than 1700 police were involved in the operation across the state, including general duties officers from the Central Metropolitan Region, assisted by specialist police from the Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Police Transport Command, PolAir, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and the Dog and Mounted Unit.

Of the 1700 police, approximately 1500 resources were deployed across the Sydney area, with a further 200 on the ground at regional locations including Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Central Coast, Wollongong and on the South Coast.

Movement of potential protesters was once again restricted following a prohibition notice to taxi, rideshare and passenger services from conveying passengers to the Sydney CBD.

Further, officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command checked more than 60,000 vehicles at 19 stationary traffic points on major roads and mobile units were also deployed across our roadways.

During the state-wide operation, 20 people were arrested in Greater Sydney and 236 PINs were issued, 11 people were arrested and 28 PINs were issued in Byron Bay, and one person was arrested and subsequently issued with a PIN in Tweed Heads.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott acknowledged the majority of people who made the right decision and stayed home.

“I’m pleased to see that common sense has prevailed and the vast majority of people have complied with the existing public health orders,” Mr Elliott said.

“As always, we’ve seen the officers of NSW Police Force working together to keep us safe, and I thank them for their professionalism and commitment.

“We are close to reaching the end-goal, which will see the significant easing of restrictions, and I want to thank everyone who made the right choice today for the greater good of their loved ones and the entire state,” Mr Elliott said.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell, Operation Commander was pleased to see the police strategy successful in disrupting protest activity.

“We take the health and safety of the community extremely seriously and we are glad our policing response, supported by road and transport strategies, effectively reduced the movement crowds and potential for disruptive protest activity,” said Assistant Commissioner Thurtell.

“During the state-wide operation, 32 people were arrested and 265 Penalty Infringement Notices for breaches of the public health orders were issued to individuals who did not have a reasonable excuse to be travelling outside their local government area (LGA) or were not wearing face coverings.

“Most importantly, I want to thank the community who did the right thing and stayed home today. Also, I acknowledge the 1700 police officers who were deployed across the state for their professional response during today’s activities,” added Assistant Commissioner Thurtell.

Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any public health order or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community by contacting Crime Stoppers: on 1800 333 000 or via https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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