A Victorian woman whose live-streamed arrest for allegedly organising an anti-lockdown protest went viral has apologised for her “bimbo moment”.
Zoe Buhler said she didn’t realise she was doing anything wrong by starting a Facebook event asking people to meet in Ballarat, west of Melbourne, to protest against lockdown restrictions.
“Sorry about my bimbo moment,” she said on Thursday.
“I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to.”
Police arrived at the 28-year-old’s home in Ballarat on Wednesday afternoon.
Ms Buhler started live-streaming before she was handcuffed, read her rights and taken into custody.
“Excuse me, what on earth?” she asks in the video.
“Can you record this? I’m in my pyjamas.”
The video was viewed at least 5 million times within 24 hours of being live-streamed.
‘I was scared I was being kidnapped’
Fronting the media in her same pyjamas, Ms Buhler said she was “fighting for human rights” and she created the protest event online because she was worried about the impacts of lockdown.
“I’m just a passionate person and I’m sick of the lockdown,” she said.
Regional Victoria is under Stage 3 restrictions, which include stay-at-home orders and bans on all gatherings.
Ms Buhler said she was in shock when police arrived at her front door.
“I do think they were too heavy handed, especially [to arrest me] in front of my children and to walk into my house like that. It did scare them,” she said.
“I was scared I was being kidnapped.
“I was just fully freaking out.”
She said the police “did end up being quite nice, which wasn’t on camera”, adding they allowed her to change out of her pyjamas before being taken into custody.
Ms Buhler has since been charged with incitement and released on bail.
“I’m charged with incitement. I’m still yet to know exactly what that means.”
She said her bail conditions included not being allowed to use social media until Sunday.
“I haven’t got any of my devices back yet.”
The video has sparked debate about Victoria’s use of emergency powers.
In a statement, Victoria Police said anyone thinking of attending a protest in Ballarat can expect a “swift and firm” response.
“Any gathering of this nature is in blatant breach of the chief health officer’s directions and puts Victorian lives at risk,” they said.
“We will have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines to anyone who is breaching the restrictions on the day or making arrests if necessary.”
Ms Buhler will appear in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court in January.