A resident of Ballarat, Australia, named Zoe Lee had planned to organise a protest of the lockdown in their city. Using Facebook, she had created the event "Freedom Day Ballarat." However, before the rally could take place, local police raided her home, arrested her and confiscated her phone. A live video of the arrest showed the police arresting the pregnant woman who kept telling them that she was willing to cancel the event. Even after pleading with the police, the woman was arrested. She was shortly released on bail and the event page was taken down.
On Wednesday, September 2, several officers arrived at the Miners Rest, Ballarat home to arrest the pregnant mother-of-two. Lee was shocked to find out that the officers had come armed with a warrant for her arrest. The charge against her was for incitement. Her crime had been organising an event which breached the rules of the Stage Three lockdown that the town in Victoria is in.
As per the rules of the lockdown, it is illegal for more than two people to gather. The event page advised people to socially distance and wear masks. However, it would still be in breach of the rules. Her event was seen as an act of incitement leading members of the public to engage in illegal activity.
While the police entered the home of the couple for the arrest, Lee's partner, James Timmins, streamed the arrest live on Facebook. In the video, the shocked woman kept telling the officers that she had not done anything illegal. One of the officers tells her that she has broken the law for which they are arresting her.
The woman also told the police that she had an ultrasound scheduled in an hour. She and Timmins continue to plead with the officers saying that they would take the event down. The partner is heard saying that the event, planned for 11 am local time Saturday, September 5, has not even taken place.
The 28-year-old mother is handcuffed in front of her children and taken into custody. The officers also seized her phone. Shortly after the arrest, she was released on bail. Lee has to appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25 next year. The Facebook page for the event was also taken down. However, the live video posted sparked outrage and many offered their support to the expectant mother.
According to Nine News, the arrest occurred days after an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne led to clashes between protesters and police.