Anti-lockdown protest: two men charged with allegedly striking police horse in Sydney

Two men will face court after an anti-lockdown protest in central Sydney, accused among other offences of striking a police horse.

Fifty-seven people have already been charged and 90 infringement notices issued over Saturday’s protest. A police strike force has been established to hunt down those who took part.

On Sunday morning NSW police said officers had been assaulted and police horses struck and pushed.

A 33-year-old Surry Hills man was arrested late on Saturday night, as was a 36-year-old man from Edensor Park in Sydney’s south-west. Both were charged with committing an act of cruelty upon an animal and failing to comply with public health orders. The Edensor Park man was also charged with assaulting a police officer.

They will both appear in Parramatta local court today.

The strike force of detectives is analysing footage from social media, CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify and punish those who defied stay-at-home orders on Saturday.

Police minister David Elliott condemned the thousands of “very selfish boofheads” who marched through the CBD.

“Police will be contacting people from tonight to have to answer for themselves and their behaviour, particularly the ringleaders,“ 他说.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “utterly disgusted” by those who had shown “utter contempt for their fellow citizens”.

“This type of activity during lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought against anyone who engages in this type of illegal activity,“ 她说.

The thousands who joined the march between Sydney’s Victoria Park and Town Hall should also immediately get tested for Covid-19 for the benefit of their families and friends, Elliott said.

The protest occurred as daily case numbers in NSW rose to a new high for the year; 163 cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, despite the government ratcheting up restrictions in the four weeks since greater Sydney entered lockdown.

A number of police officers were injured by protesters who threw plastic bottles and pot plants seized from the roadside.

Elliott said police would crack down on protesters if they gathered again next weekend.

Police estimate 3,500 people joined in the rally. Despite a heavy presence of mounted and riot officers, protesters broke through a police barrier to continue down George St but were stopped at King St.

In Melbourne, an anti-lockdown protest was also brought to a violent end by police.

And the ABC reported that Queensland police estimated 7,500 people gathered in the Botanic Gardens and marched through the city on Saturday.