A comedian who gained notoriety in recent weeks, known as TikTok Guy, who had a streak of accurately "predicting" NSW's daily Covid numbers was among the thousands who attended an anti-lockdown rally in Sydney's CBD.
On Saturday, thousands took to the streets, defying public health orders to protest the lockdown and call for freedom.
Among them, was Jon-Bernard Kairouz, who addressed the crowd with a megaphone in hand, exciting the anti-lockdown attendees.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be here as the people's premier," he said to the cheering crowd, with just a few seen wearing face masks.
"I will say, I've crunched the numbers, I don't think the cases are going to be going up tomorrow but from what I've calculated — there's over 50,000 people here today," he exaggerated.
"Small businesses, people that are doing it tough, all we want is freedom."
The scenes in Sydney, which included pockets of violence, drew swift criticism from police, state and federal leaders, and fellow Australians online.
"The D**khead Olympics are being held in Sydney. Here’s your Gold Medalist," Labor MP Stephen Jones tweeted, along with a video of the newly famous TikToker addressing the crowd.
NSW premier 'utterly disgusted' by protest scenes
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement that she was "utterly disgusted" by the protesters 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," she said.
NSW recorded 163 locally-acquired cases on Saturday and health authorities remain concerned about people who were out in the community while infectious.
— Adella Beaini (@adellabeaini) July 24, 2021
Minister slams 'selfish boofhead' protestors
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, David Elliott, Minister for Police and Emergency Services in NSW referred to the protestors as "very selfish boofheads".
Already, 57 people have been charged for attending the protest and more than 90 infringements have been issued.
A dedicated team of police officers will work to identify as many people at the protest as possible to press further charges.
"We'll see 22 detectives work from now until whenever it concludes, identifying as many people as possible, who attended today's incident and have them charged," Mr Elliot vowed.
Between the CCTV footage, police body cam footage and social media posts, Mr Elliot was confident a decent amount of the protestors will be identified by authorities.
"Anyone who thinks they can get away with the type of actions we saw today will be chased ... to the full extent of the law," Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon told reporters.
Mr Elliot said there were a few thousand people at the protest on Saturday.
"What we saw today, was 3,500 very selfish boofheads, people that thought that the law didn't apply to them," he said.
Given the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, he also cautioned against potential spread of the virus at the event.
"There is no doubt in my mind that at least one individual there today had Covid – it is statistically impossible for us not to consider that."
Protest could lengthen time of lockdown
He urged people who attended the protest to go get tested for Covid-19 tomorrow, for their own sake and for the sake of their friends and family.
"This selfish inappropriate behaviour is what is going to continue this city into lockdown, it cannot go on," he said.
Mr Elliot urged people to comply with the health orders, lamenting that Sydney was "not immune to morons".
He added that if a protest was to happen again next week, the full force of the police would be deployed to the CBD.
Dept Comm Lanyon said around 350 police officers were at the protest on Saturday.
"They did not go to work to be assaulted or have projectiles thrown at them – the actions of the individuals involved in those offences was a disgrace," he said.
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