On Sunday, the Australian state of Victoria declared a state of disaster in response to rising COVID-19 numbers.
Whilst Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews says most residents are doing the right thing, including adhering to the 8PM to 5AM curfew, that’s not the case across the board.
Some Australians intend to stand on their porches this Friday at 7PM to scream (yes, really), but others are taking things to the extreme.
Police Commissioner Shane Patton says that more and more Victorians are refusing to co-operate with police checks, calling themselves “sovereign citizens”, which in some cases has led to violent showdowns with law enforcement.
This is beginning to sound a great deal like the US and their face mask battles.
Let’s hear from the BBC:
In one case a woman repeatedly smashed a policewoman’s head into the ground, Patton said…
Mr Patton said the policewoman had been attacked in a shopping centre after stopping a woman for not wearing a mask…
The sovereign citizen movement – which has roots in the US – is typically used by those who don’t believe in their government’s legitimacy, often arguing their rights are being suppressed by public orders.
Mr Patton said the attack on the policewoman “highlights the type of challenges that we’re experiencing”, adding people were “baiting” police at checkpoints and refusing to disclose basic information.
“On at least four occasions in the last week, we’ve had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details,” he said.
That seems a little heavy-handed, but Australia is famous for compliance with workplace health and safety measures, for example, so the fact that some Victorian residents have so openly defied these laws is interesting.
One such resister is Eve Black, who became one of the faces of the ‘resistance’ when posting about how she handled checkpoint stops:
Cue the sad music, because Eve has since been arrested.
Whilst fines for breaking lockdown regulations here in South Africa start from the low hundreds, often maxing out at the R5 000 mark for repeat infringements, down under they hit the pocket a little harder:
On Tuesday, the state government increased fines for repeated lockdown breaches from A$1,652 (£900; $1,200) to A$5,000.
Under the current “stage four” lockdown, Melburnians can leave home only to shop, exercise, give essential medical care or do frontline work.
Residents must shop and exercise within 5km (3 miles) of their home, for no longer than one hour at a time.
Like a trip down alert level memory lane, that.
Oh, and Australia has plenty of Karens, too:
As the Ozzies often say, “just wear a mask, you bloody drongo”.
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