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Culture

Pregnant Australian Woman Arrested In Front Of Kids For Creating Facebook Event To Protest Severe Victorian Lockdown Restrictions

By Paula Gallagher·· 4 min read
pregnant australian mom arrested

Victorians can add Facebook to the long list of places they can’t go under lockdown.

The Arrest of Zoe Buhler

The video shows police entering the home of pregnant Zoe Buhler, 28, on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Police present a search warrant to confiscate all computers and mobile devices in the home, and then they arrest her for “incitement” over a Facebook post organizing a lockdown protest. Buhler was arrested in her pajamas in front of her partner and two children. 

The “Freedom Day” protest was planned for Saturday, September 5 in Ballarat. Ballarat is about an hour and a half’s drive west of Melbourne, Victoria, which is under Stage 4 lockdown restrictions. In Melbourne Metro, residents can only leave home to buy essential items, seek medical care, go to work, and exercise outdoors for one hour a day. Other parts of regional Victoria, such as Ballarat, are under Stage 3 lockdown restrictions, which includes being “allowed to gather outdoors with only one other person from their household.”

Ballarat residents can only gather outdoors with only one other person from their household.

Buhler’s “Freedom Day” event on Facebook called people to protest the Victorian government’s lockdown measure.

“As some of you may have seen the government has gone to extreme measures and are using scare tactics through the media to prevent the Melbourne protest,” the now-deleted post read. “Here in Ballarat we can be a voice for those in stage four lockdowns. We can be seen and heard and hopefully make a difference!”

Buhler has been banned from posting on Facebook as one of her bail conditions.

Police Response

The Victoria Police stated that they were “aware of a prohibited gathering which is planned for Ballarat on Saturday,” and that “Any gathering of this nature is in blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer’s directions and puts Victorian lives at risk.”

Victoria Police also warned, “Those still thinking of attending the protest in Ballarat on Saturday can expect a swift and firm response from police.”

Buhler is the fourth person to be arrested and charged with incitement in Victoria.

According to The Guardian, “Buhler is the fourth person to be arrested and charged with incitement in Victoria in recent days as police in Victoria take a hardline approach to the so-called ‘freedom day’ protests.”

Lockdown Restrictions Restrict Personal Freedoms

Buhler said she planned the Freedom Day protest to “stand up for human rights.”

"I did kind of want to protest in Melbourne but I obviously knew I wasn’t allowed to do that. I just wanted to feel like I was doing something,” she said. “I’m a passionate person and I’m sick of the lockdown. I’m sick of hearing about suicides... I personally lost my job.”

Buhler said she planned the Freedom Day protest to “stand up for human rights.”

The more the government increases restrictions — restrictions of movement, choice, and voice — the more we see the loss of personal freedoms. The Victorian government apparently doesn’t trust it’s citizens to make prudent decisions or take personal responsibility during this pandemic, hence it’s draconian lockdown rules. But when public health concerns encroach on civil liberties, the line between safety and tyranny blur. 

With the lockdown restrictions, the government has taken an imbalanced portion of responsibility upon its shoulders. And when government increases its power and its reach, it prevents other influences from acting — parents, businesses, private schools, religious institutions, even the human conscience — influences that would check government and protect civil liberties.

Closing Thoughts

As a result of her arrest, Buhler said she was done with her activism. “I’m too scared now... it’s fear-mongering.”

When government restricts its citizens with regulations and fear, it clears its path to inordinate power. As the world adjusts to life with COVID (because we all know it isn’t going to disappear), will governments agree to release the new power they’ve seized?

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