Dramatic footage has surfaced of a woman being pulled away from her screaming son by a number of police officers while protesting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Two clips shared to Facebook depict the woman speaking with police officers near Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney's CBD at around 3.50pm on Saturday, then being dragged into a police van as her screaming son is torn from her arms.
Wearing a yellow sign that read: "If you don't know your rights, you don't have any. Magna Carta," the woman was protesting with around 40 people against the coronavirus lockdown, as part of the "Exercising My Rights" group, news.com.au reports.
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She was issued an infringement notice for failing to comply with direction relating to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.
In the footage, she is first seen refusing to give her name to a group of officers, before walking away down the street.
"I don't know how you guys are going home in honour tonight and trying to infringe me with a notice which I don't consent to because we're doing nothing wrong," she told the group of officers.
"You guys should be here holding the signs with us, defending us. I don't consent to what you're doing," she said, as a female officer asked for her name.
"We're doing nothing wrong … We're not acting in aggression … Am I under arrest?," she responded.
"No, I'm just trying to speak to you … I am asking for your name because I do believe you are committing an offence," the officer explained.
"I'm here fighting for not just myself and my kids, but for your children too," the woman then said as she walked away.
Moments later in a second clip, the altercation took a turn for the worst as police are seen dragging the woman by her arms as her son wails and passers-by object.
"Why is she under arrest? She's not done anything wrong," one woman is heard yelling.
"Leave her alone … What are you proving?" another man objects.
"Out of everybody they grab a woman with a child," he added.
"You're scaring your son," the female officer is heard saying while the young boy screamed and cried.
"Mummy is not going," he said. "Leave mummy alone."
Towards the end of the video, the child is seen kicking and screaming in the arms of two officers.
A group of protesters walked along Macquarie Street on Saturday to "exercise their rights" during the global health crisis.
According to the "Exercising My Rights" Facebook page and website, the protests are about the negative consequences of lockdown.
"These lockdowns have stripped us of our basic liberties in an unprecedented way," the website reads.
"People have lost their jobs, their businesses destroyed, and who knows how many lives will be lost from the consequences of these extreme social-distancing laws.
"But … the laws in NSW, Australia, do allow me to go out and get some exercise. So, that's what I'm going to do.
"While these lockdowns are in effect, every Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00pm, I'm going to exercise by walking around our state parliament house."
A statement issued by NSW police in relation to the woman's arrest read: "About 2pm yesterday (Saturday 9 May 2020), officers from Sydney City Police Area Command attended Macquarie Street and monitored a group of people who were conducting an unauthorised protest.
"By 3pm, the group had grown to about 40 people and were not exercising adequate social distancing, so officer soon began speaking with members of the group explaining they were not authorised to protest and were also not complying with current Ministerial Directions under the Public Health Act, with many being issued warnings and move-on directions.
"About 3.50pm, police again spoke with a woman, in company of a child, who told officers she was 'exercising'.
"After she refused to give officers her details and would not comply with their direction to move on, police arrested the woman; however, she resisted, and a struggle ensued.
"During the struggle, the 36-year-old woman picked up her young son and continued to argue and resist police.
"The child was removed from the woman's hold and she was taken to Surry Hills Police Station, where her identity was established, and she was issued an infringement notice for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to Covid-19.
"The child was placed in the care of a relative and the Department of Family and Community Services were notified."