Claims in the media this week that Victoria Police will not be issuing infringement notices to people who breach Chief Health Officer directions at tomorrow’s planned protest in the CBD are wrong, according to a police statement released today.
The statement went on to say: In the exercise of police discretion, those who intentionally break the law will be held to account, and we have again contacted the organisers of the protest this morning to ensure this point is understood.
As Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius made clear earlier this week, it is our strong preference that the protest does not occur at this time, while the restrictions in relation to public gatherings remain in place.
There are obvious and potentially dire public health consequences should this event lead to an outbreak of coronavirus.
If it is to proceed then it must be conducted in a manner which does not breach the Chief Health Officer directions.
We have also been clear that it would not be practical to issue infringements to thousands of persons congregating for a protest. We wish to keep the protest a peaceful one.
That said, after the event and as per other recent protests, we will assess the evidence of the protest and if it did breach CHO guidelines we will not hesitate to issue infringement notices to the organisers. We will also consider other persons whom it may be appropriate to infringe.