News State NSW News Sydney anti-mask protest organiser charged

Sydney anti-mask protest organiser charged

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A man accused of rallying anti-mask protesters to storm a western Sydney shopping centre has been charged by police.

Police were called to stop the group’s unauthorised protests at Westfield Parramatta two weeks in a row.

An investigation into the protests, which took place on January 16 and 23, culminated in the arrest of a 36-year-old on Thursday.

The Merrylands man has been charged with two counts of failing to comply with a COVID-19 public health order.

Footage aired by media on Saturday shows the group chanting slogans and holding signs spruiking COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

Police will allege in court the man organised the two protests, which did not comply with restrictions at the time.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before Parramatta Local Court on February 23.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told “everybody who has an alternate view, please look at the facts” on COVID-19.

“Even if you do have the virus and recover, some people’s lives will never be the same – that’s why we take such a strong position in Australia and in NSW in preventing people from getting the virus,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Friday.

“You’re entitled to your own opinion but don’t impact the safety of others.”

Restrictions on mask usage in retail setting have since eased, with face coverings no longer required from Friday.