WORLD

Melbourne ‘freedom’ protest ringleader arrested: cops

Harrison McLean, an alleged major organiser of Melbourne’s “freedom” rallies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Facebook

An alleged ringleader of Melbourne’s anti-lockdown “freedom” movement has been arrested.

Police allege Harrison McLean encouraged others to breach the chief health officer’s directions at an illegal protest in Richmond on September 18.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed the 25-year-old from Bayswater had been charged with incitement after he was arrested on Saturday morning.

Read Next

Police said at least 700 people attended the “unlawful and violent” protest on September 18 that started in Richmond and resulted in crowds walking through the streets to Burnley.

Harrison McLean has been charged with incitement. Picture: Facebook
Harrison McLean has been charged with incitement. Picture: Facebook

Police arrested 235 people and fined 193 for breaching lockdown restrictions at the event and alleged officers were “subject to violent, hostile and aggressive behaviour”.

Five police officers were hospitalised from injuries sustained at the protest, while numerous others were allegedly assaulted and had projectiles such as glass bottles hurled at them.

A number of officers were also knocked to the ground and trampled when the police line was rushed by the crowd in Barkers Rd, Kew.

Protesters face off with police in Richmond on September 18. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray
Protesters face off with police in Richmond on September 18. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray
Harrison McLean studied physics and computational science. Picture: Facebook
Harrison McLean studied physics and computational science. Picture: Facebook

NCA NewsWire is not suggesting that McLean encouraged the violence, only that he has been charged over allegedly inciting people to gather for the protest.

McLean outed himself as the man charged with incitement on his own Telegram messaging channel.

He announced he planned to fight the charges and said he had already set up a crowd sourcing fundraiser for his legal fees.

McLean said he had been bailed with conditions including following the chief health officer’s directions and refraining from promoting “freedom events” that also contravene the restrictions.

He has also vowed to continue fighting for his cause.

About 700 protesters attended the Freedom Rally in the Richmond on September 18. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray
About 700 protesters attended the Freedom Rally in the Richmond on September 18. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray

“There is a lot that can be done while outside that is not directly rally related,” he told his followers.

“My legal battle now begins to continue the fight for freedom in Victoria against the Andrews regime.”

McLean styles himself as an entrepreneur and innovator who was an early adopter of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

On his website, he said he studied physics and computational science at Monash University and co-founded a decentralised social media Blockchain protocol in 2018.

He said he launched the “World Wide Rally for Freedom” movement in Melbourne to push back against harsh Victorian lockdown restrictions.

He also claims to have drafted an “Australian Bill of Rights to act as a guide for the establishment of a modernised approach to the preservation of freedom in Australia through a constitutional amendment”.

A silent protest against mandatory vaccination in Fitzroy on Monday. Picture: Paul Dowsley / Twitter
A silent protest against mandatory vaccination in Fitzroy on Monday. Picture: Paul Dowsley / Twitter

Police said McLean had been bailed to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on April 11 next year.

It comes as police foiled a socially distanced protest by about 50 health workers on Monday at a park in Fitzroy.

The workers, some who said they were fully vaccinated, gathered with signs in silence to protest against mandatory vaccinations.

One of the signs said “Last year’s heroes, this year’s unemployed” while another read “Coercion is not consent”.

The pro-choice protest went for about 30 minutes before they complied with a police request to move on.

[email protected]

paynter jack

Sydney

Jack Paynter is NCA NewsWire’s breaking news and crime reporter based in Melbourne. He began his career as a local journalist at Leader community news in suburban Melbourne before moving to Hobart for a stint… Read more

widget v3

Read Next

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button