The world was shocked as an Australian woman was arrested in her pyjamas and very pregnant on camera in front of her two minor children and her partner. Australian police in Ballarat Victoria arrested Zoe Buhler at her family’s home in Ballarat on 3rd September for creating a ‘Freedom Day’ event on Facebook protesting Victoria’s lockdown. She had urged people to protest during the lockdown.
The police swooped on her house early Wednesday morning wrestling her from her night dressing in front of her crying children and dragged a visibly distraught and pregnant woman to custody. Victoria police is facing criticism for its arrest of a 28-year-old pregnant woman in her Ballarat home on Wednesday over a Facebook post, with the Victorian Bar labelling it “disproportionate”. The criticism comes after the assistant police commissioner, Luke Cornelius, defended the arrest, saying officers acted “reasonably”. Cornelius admitted that the arrest of a pregnant woman made for “terrible optics”, but defended the heavy-handed approach, warning that hundreds of officers would be deployed to make arrests on the weekend. Police arrested Ballarat resident Zoe Buhler after she created a “freedom day” event on Facebook encouraging people to protest against lockdowns in the regional town on Saturday.
She was arrested and charged under section 321G of the state’s Crimes Act 1958, which makes it an offence for a person to “pursue a course of conduct which will involve the commission of an offence”. The arrest comes amid claims of misconduct by Victoria police and concerns from legal experts that Victorians in several instances were being “wrongly fined”. “Many people have been issued fines when they are not breaching public health directions,” said Ariel Couchman, the chief executive of Youthlaw. “The police aren’t making proper enquiries to determine why the person is not complying.”
The president of the Victorian Bar, Wendy Harris QC, said they were concerned by Buhler’s arrest. “In the case of Ms Buhler, who was arrested and handcuffed in her home in front of her partner and children, the Bar is concerned that the enforcement action of the police … appeared disproportionate to the threat she presented,” she said.
“The Victorian Bar is concerned that the enforcement response to Ms Buhler’s conduct is apparently at odds with other reported and more measured responses by authorities to organizers or promoters of similar protests planned or carried out in contravention of public health directives. “In an interview with the ABC, Buhler said she did not realize she was doing anything wrong, and the police could have given a phone call rather than arresting her. “I didn’t realize that I wasn’t allowed to,” she said. “The police could have given me a phone call and say, look, you need to take down your event or you could be charged with a crime and I would have done that. It could have been as simple as that.”
Cornelius confirmed that three additional people had been arrested and charged with incitement for planning an anti-lockdown protest at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, also on Saturday.
“We remain very concerned, and in fact, outraged is probably a fair word, to say there are still people in our community who think it’s a good idea at the time of this deadly pandemic that we’re all fighting, think it’s a good time to leave home and protest on our streets,” he said on Thursday.
Cornelius said that protesting, which is not allowed under stage three or four restrictions, put frontline health staff and police at risk of contracting the virus, and would make easing restrictions harder in future.
“I would be the first to acknowledge the optics, for want of a better description, arresting a pregnant female, it’s never going to look good. The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant is terrible.”
But the commissioner said that he was “satisfied” that police had acted reasonably and said Buhler’s handcuffs were removed once police were sure that “the premises was secure”.
“Now, in stage four, and in stage three, which applies to regional Victoria, when those restrictions came in, public protest was removed as a permitted reason. That is the rule that applies now, and that applies to the individual arrested yesterday … those rules did not apply during the Black Lives Matter protest”.
He added that the organizers of the Black Lives Matter rally had told protesters to abide by the restrictions at the time.
“Here’s the thing – the organizers of the Black Lives Matter protest were on record saying we’re telling people who are coming to protest to comply with the [health] directions.”
Cornelius told reporters that police had visited more than 80 people this week, and warned them that if they attended or organized protests, they would be arrested.
“If you do take the selfish option and leave home to protest, we’ll be ready for you … We have hundreds of police ready to respond, including our general duties and specialist police, such as the public order response unit, mounted branch and the highway patrol. They’ve all been rostered and will be deployed to support this operation.”
The arrest of the pregnant woman draws sharp contrast with the arrest of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, they both were arrested for incitement and they went through the legal process. Surprisingly and in the action, which exposed hypocrisy the United States did not even utter a word of reprimand to Australia.
The same scenario played in Zimbabwe and the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols behaved like a demigod. He indeed went way out of order and removed his diplomatic robes and stepped into the local political arena, wherein he has been blinded by the dust of the local politics. He made a mountain out of the situation in Zimbabwe and he defamed the Zimbabwean dignity for the evil reasons only known to him and his country.
Zimbabwe suffers from this foreign aggression from all fronts. This was simply because Zimbabwe has moved to protect its health system and sought to protect its people from the virus. The arrest of Chin’ono and Ngarivhume was perfectly in order and Australia did the same on the day the courts in Zimbabwe released the two perpetrators.The perpetrators of the disturbances are the strong economies who are bent on causing confusion in any country which has resources.
Zimbabwe had to endure three months of vilification and total onslaught which was unwarranted.
The US ambassador said “Transparency is critical — even in an emergency — for democracy to function,” as he railed against purported corruption in Zimbabwe. But his silence is so deafening when it comes to Australia. Just like the European Union (EU), the US has decided to run with the corruption narrative to checkmate growing calls from across the world to remove illegal sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe. They used the arrests of the terrible three in Zimbabwe as a reason of piling more sanctions. To amplify their calls, they roped in political activists masquerading as journalists and also pliable opposition parties who are seeking relevance to give false testimony on Zimbabwe. The situation in Australia has been swept under the carpet, as we write twenty people in Australia have been arrested for the same crimes Chin’ono was arrested for. The Australian police have promised to arrest many more this weekend. The question one asks is would this have been possible in Zimbabwe. Why is the world so silent why was the world jumping up and down when this was happening in Zimbabwe.
The whole drama tells us that the Americans under Trump have been devoid of fairness. The Zimbabweans are being treated unfairly. The actions of the Americans is racist and they treat Zimbabwe in this way because we are blacks.
The most painful thing is that our idiotic brother Mr Malema has lost his voice, yet he was too loud when the same situation was on Zimbabwe.
In Australia pregnant women are being arrested for inciting a demonstration against the backdrop of COVID 19 restrictions. This has been Zimbabwe’s contention all along. Zimbabwe is being judged on the same issues that western nations themselves fail to uphold. They are racists in how they treat Zimbabwe. White countries get away with murder and no one raises a finger. The opposition has been paid to make noise against their own country. Zimbabwe is unfortunate to have lawyers who could be bought for publicity. If there was no donor funding for these lawyers cum activists, we would have found unity long back. It is money which persuades our sisters in the legal fraternity to continue painting the country black. It is not a secret that Hopewell Chin’ono is a political activist, journalism is only used as a cover to protect his activism. But his actions were neither activism nor journalistic, it was clearly criminal. The reasons for his arrest are the same as the ten journalists and people in Victoria arrested by the Australian police.
Without shame America intervened in Zimbabwe’s legal system This is a concentrated effort to execute a regime change in Zimbabwe What we are seeing now is how America is using the opposition to destroy Zimbabwe. The Americans did not even Tweet a complaint about Australia but made a meal out of the Zimbabwean situation. This shows us that America uses Zimbabweans who are bent on tarnishing the country’s image. What this shows us is that the nations who appointed themselves Master of Human rights are masters of corruption and deception. It is without doubt that the intentions of the West is to put a puppet in our State House. It is just a ploy to destabilise the good country of Zimbabwe. Every Zimbabwean would want to know why the seven diplomatic missions are silent, why are we not seeing another letter a joint statement criticizing Australia. If this was done in Zimbabwe, it will be the US Embassy who will lead the tweets. This behaviour is undiplomatic, pervasive and totally obscene. It is terrorism being practiced by America against Zimbabwe.
In Australia other two men were charged with incitement and bailed to appear in the Melbourne magistrates court in February 2021. It followed the arrest of 76-year-old Windsor man Solihin Millin on Friday 29th AUGUST 2020. If this 76-year old man was arrested in Zimbabwe one can imagine the outcry. The silence speaks volumes of those who have anointed themselves human rights specialists.
In a very disturbing conspiracy Facebook has continued to delete groups and pages associated with the event citing “misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm”. But if this was Zimbabwean case Facebook will have dedicated a page to denounce Zimbabwe. But, perhaps predictably, the lead up to the protest has been plagued by internal division of infiltration. Infiltrated by the foreign forces coming in exceedingly small packages like Jacob Ngarivhume.
On release from prison on Bail Jacob Ngarivhume and Hopewell Chin’ono were given acres of airtime on Sky News, BBC and CNN. The aim was to try and embarrass Zimbabwe, but the arrest of the pregnant and the old in Australia only found space on Twitter and Facebook.
This is the time Zimbabweans must consider their actions motivated by the enemies of peace.