Sydney police have shut down a beachside pop-up party where two men were dancing on top of a van playing music as people gathered around during the city's lockdown on Thursday night.
The instigator of the event at Manly beach was fined $1000 and NSW Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys criticised the young man’s actions during a media conference on Friday after 97 new locally acquired infections were announced.
He said NSW Police handed out 164 infringement notices in the last 24 hours and more than 200 warnings, but singled out the incident in Manly as a warning to others.
Dept Commissioner Worboys said police responded to calls of a man with a van hosting “a pop-up party”.
“When spoken to, the young man tried to convince police it was some sort of marketing strategy or exercise strategy when clearly, clearly it wasn’t," he said.
“The people who contacted police described it as a party in the street,” he said.
Footage of the “party” has been published on a Manly Facebook group and on Instagram.
It shows two men dancing on top of a black van as bubbles fill the air and several children dance on the ground below.
On the side of the van is scribbled the Instagram handle of a man named Andrew Riss, who has more than 1200 followers on Instagram.
“Spreading joy and connection during lockdown,” his profile reads.
The video has attracted hundreds of viewers, with many people divided about the incident, which Mr Riss addressed in a Facebook post.
“This is my van and my project,” he said.
“Can confirm this is my job and is not breaking any Covid police. It’s also not a protest nor any form of political statement,” he said, adding that he would post another response at a later date.
“Stay safe and smile at a stranger tomorrow — we all need more joy right now.”
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Mr Riss for comment.
Several people see no harm in music van
Many viewers praised Mr Riss and said he “wasn’t hurting anyone”.
“No different to exercise, not hurting anyone. Let’s be kind to one another,” a woman said.
“I love hearing music in the streets,” another woman wrote.
“OMG. They’re standing and singing! Everyone run for your lives. These guys are trying to kill you!” another person joked.
Others said Mr Riss was clearly breaking the rules.
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