Two men charged with animal cruelty during Sydney lockdown protest

·2-min read

Two men have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly striking a police horse at a "freedom" protest in Sydney's CBD on Saturday.

A few thousand people flocked to Sydney's CBD on Saturday amid the city's most recent outbreak, which grew by more than 160 cases on Saturday.

Police were at the scene and vowed to charge as many demonstrators as possible, alleging police were assaulted at the fiery demonstration and that police horses were "struck and pushed".

Two men have now been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly striking a police horse and for breaching health orders by attending the unlawful gathering.

Protesters face off with mounted police at Sydney Town Hall during the anti-lockdown rally. Source: AAP
Protesters face off with mounted police at Sydney Town Hall during the anti-lockdown rally. Source: AAP

At 11.20pm on Saturday, police arrested a 33-year-old man in Surry Hills and charged him at Kings Cross Police Station for animal cruelty and failing to comply with Covid directions.

Another man, 36, was arrested at a home in Edensor Park, in addition to the animal cruelty and failing to comply with public health order charges, that man was also charged with assaulting a police officer.

Police work through the night to nab protestors

Both men were denied bail and will appear in Parramatta Local Court on Saturday.

Strike Force Seasoned was established after the protest, to investigate those who attended and "committed offences associated with the unauthorised protest and breach of Public Health Orders".

In a statement, NSW Police said the strike force had worked throughout the night to identify those involved in the protest and further arrests are expected to be made.

Police are investigating those who were at the rally on Saturday in Sydney's CBD. Source: AAP
Police are investigating those who were at the rally on Saturday in Sydney's CBD. Source: AAP

Police Minister David Elliot condemned those at the protest, labelling them "very selfish boofheads".

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

In a statement, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was "utterly disgusted" by those who marched on the streets, saying they showed "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.

Mr Elliot urged anyone who was at the march to go get tested for Covid-19, for the sake of their friends and family.

Police estimate there were about 3,500 people at the rally.

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