'Take your hands off me': Cops cuff maskless protesters
Police are cracking down on attempts to flaunt tough lockdown restrictions, with footage showing officers taking a man not wearing a mask into custody in the CBD.
Dozens were turned away from an anti-vaccination group's protest action at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane's CBD on Saturday afternoon.
Today's protest action appears to have been a part of a larger national action organized by the Facebook group "Aussie Patriots Roll".
The group, which labels themselves as a "lawful rebellion", called the protest public action against "abusive governments", alleged "paedophile politicians" and "lying mainstream media" outlets.
Event organizer Karen Brewer said the gatherings were for "everyone" during a livestream about the protests earlier this week.
"Scott Morrison coming out yesterday saying there would be 4 million vaccinations by March - we do not comply! Everyone has the right to choose," Brewer yelled during a livestream earlier this week.
"We will not tolerate lockdown and border closures; we will not tolerate our fellow countrymen being suppressed in this fashion," she added.
"We do not bow down to rules and regulations handed down to us by paedophile protecting politicians."
The group also lists Chemtrails, abortions, and 5G as other issues they fight against.
The action also took place across the Tasman in New Zealand, with another group member saying the kiwi action was being done in solidarity "just like the good old days with the ANzACS".
"What exactly is going on, we don't know, people just unite and that's all I can says," the member added.
Action was organized across eight locations in Queensland, including the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Caloundra, Gladstone, Yeppon, Townsville, Cardwell and Cairns.
In the livestream, Brewer said early sign ups to the protests were "absolutely staggering", however its not confirmed just how many attended Brisbane's event.
She encouraged attendees it was essential to "shake hands, introduce yourself to people, make friends and share phone numbers"
Protests also took place in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and The Northern Territory.
Queensland Police said that there were no arrests in relation to a protest in the CBD today, however there were dozens intercepted.
When asked by officers if there was any lawful reason why he was out in the city with no mask, a protester said "it is important to send a message."
"I want to go protest - We're the ones who pay your bills for you."
Another man confronted police from the back of his ute, hurling abuse at officers while filming on his phone.
"I'll see you in court, not a problem officer" the man yelled at one point.
In another incident, footage posted by Channel 9 shows a man screaming "take your hands off me" as two officers attempt to take him into custody.
A police spokesman said they were aware of planned protests in the CBD on Saturday, however police conducted patrols and no one was actually arrested in relation to protest activity.
The Queensland Health website outlines that protests are strictly prohibited during the three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane.
In another image of a separate event, believed to be taken along Brunswick Street in New Farm, officers can be seen placing handcuffs on a woman not wearing a face mask.
This morning authorities confirmed Queensland Police had handed out four fines since the lockdown began, three of which were over a refusal to wear a mask.
When asked this afternoon, the spokesman said no figures were yet available as to any arrests in relation to mask compliance since then as they had not yet been collated.
It comes as police confirmed Greater Brisbane residents must wear masks outside of their homes at all times including inside their cars.
Queensland Health this morning updated the mandatory mask directive to confirm cars are now included saying 'this is for the safety of yourself and others, as well as ride share and taxi drivers'.
It comes as three fines have been issued to people who refused to wear masks outside since the mandate began Friday at 6pm.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police were currently handing out masks instead of fines and have given out 360 masks, however, in three instances people were offered a mask and they refused the officer's direction to wear it or return home.
They were fined.
Gold Coast police are also making no apologies for a concerted push to keep Brisbane residents out of the Glitter Strip during the lockdown.
Since 6pm Friday night, traffic police patrols have been intercepting vehicles suspected of coming from Brisbane to escape the capital's tough new lockdown measures, but so far, no fines or turnaround orders have been enforced.
Police will continue to ramp up efforts across the weekend, using powers to question anyone suspected of flouting the directives from the Chief Health Officer for people who had been in Brisbane since January 2.
Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said he made no apologies for the blitz, which will target people on roads leading to the Glitter Strip and at public gatherings throughout the city, including the Magic Millions racing carnival and Sunday night's Big Bash game at Carrara.
"We will use communication and compassion, but ultimately we need to ensure compliance with the CHO's directive and if that means fining people that is what will happen," he said.
Disobeying a health directive carries a $1334 fine.
He said police would also act on any information suggesting people were breaching the rules at Gold Coast hotels, following a mass exodus out of Brisbane before the lockout started at 6pm Friday.
"The people who left Brisbane before 6pm were not committing any offence, but they will be expected to observe the same rules as if they were still in Brisbane and if we hear anything suggesting otherwise, we will act," he said.
"Where we have suspicions that people have come from Greater Brisbane, we will absolutely engage with them."
Cricket Australia has already moved to bar anyone from Greater Brisbane from attending the Heat's game against the Sixers at Metricon Stadium, with police to also question people entering the venue.
Meanwhile, police have fined two men for blatant breaches at the state border in Coolangatta.
A 31-year-old man who arrived at the Miles Street checkpoint on Friday with a valid border pass was questioned by police who discovered his claim of not having been in a NSW hot spot since Boxing Day was false.
He eventually admitted he had been in Sydney as recently as January 4.
He was fined $4003 and refused entry to the state.
A 19-year-old Gold Coast man was fined the same amount after officers saw him exit a vehicle near the main Coolangatta checkpoint at Griffith Street and walk across the border to enter another car waiting on the other side.
Officers discovered he did not hold a valid border pass, despite being eligible for one.
Chief Superintendent Wheeler said blatant breaches would not be tolerated.
"There's just no excuse for it," he said.
"He could have taken 90 seconds to fill out the pass."
Since border restrictions were reintroduced the week before Christmas, almost one million people have applied for border passes, while 1338 people have been refused entry to Queensland.
EARLIER | Now lockdown has begun, Gold Coast Police will launch a major traffic operation to swoop on motorists defying Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young's directives.
Police patrols will intercept vehicles on the southbound lanes of the M1 heading towards the Gold Coast to ensure the rules are being complied with.
Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said officers would seek to ensure the CHO's orders were being followed with number plate recognition technology available to help target Brisbane-registered vehicles.
"I would ask everyone to do the right thing," he said.
"If you're from the Greater Brisbane area, just stay home for the weekend.
"I don't think it's too much to ask."
Police will also question travellers across the Gold Coast suspected of coming from Brisbane at the city's beaches, shopping centres or sporting events, including a Big Bash cricket match slated for Sunday night at Carrara
"People can expect to be stopped and spoken to by police," said Chief Superintendent Wheeler.
"I think that is reasonable under the circumstances. We're not trying to make things hard for anyone."
Sunshine Coast District Superintendent Craig Hawkins said road blocks would not be enforced, but officers would pull over drivers they suspect are from Brisbane.
There will be increased staffing during the next three days with the help of some neighbouring police districts.
He said highway messaging boards will also reflect the new restrictions.
"The Sunshine Coast is affected in some respects," Supt Hawkins said.
"The Greater Brisbane area includes Moreton Bay, and our boundary aligns with Moreton Bay.
"As a consequence we have put in some measures to ensure the isolation component of what the (Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk) announced is being applied."
He said the Brisbane Heat's Big Bash game, scheduled for Sunday night, would also come under the police spotlight for travellers defying the Brisbane lockdown.
"That is not an essential reason to travel," he said.
People can expect to see police in and around that event.
"There is an element of honesty. Ask yourself, do you really want to be that person who potentially spreads COVID-19 across Queensland?"
The traffic chaos came as reports flood in of long queues out the front of supermarkets and shelves being cleared.
As residents flee to the Coasts, some tourism operators have experienced cancellations from Brisbane travellers since the announcement on Friday morning that Greater Brisbane would effectively shut down for the next three days.
However, other tourism operators across the southeast have had an influx of last-minute bookings.
The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Scenic Rim and areas further afield are not bound by the lockdown facing Greater Brisbane.
However, there is the risk of undetected cases of the coronavirus spreading throughout the region if people do not respect the Chief Health Officer's warning to avoid non-essential travel.
Refunds will be offered to campers from Greater Brisbane who won't be able to travel to National Parks.
The Department of Environment and Science has announced two of its facilities - the Walkabout Creek and Wildlife Centre and Daisy Hill Koala Centre - will be closed for the three-day Greater Brisbane lockdown.
A spokeswoman for the DES also urged anyone from Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands and Moreton Bay not to travel to National Parks and State Forests outside of their immediate area and for people outside of Greater Brisbane to stay away.
"Anyone planning on camping in or visiting National Parks in the Greater Brisbane region this weekend should stay home following the latest COVID lockdown directive," the spokeswoman said.
"While campers who are already in the camping spots can stay, no new campers will be permitted to travel into parks."
"Rangers will be working hard to contact anyone affected today."
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind urged caution to anyone considering making last-minute holiday bookings to circumvent the impending lockdown.
"I would encourage anyone to read the latest health advice from the Government and the Chief Health Officer," he said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate called on Brisbanites to stay away from the Glitter Strip over the coming days.
"We love you Brisbane, but right now I'm asking you to do the right thing and stay at home," he said.
"We have done so well so far and right now is not the time to be taking sneaky trips down to the Gold Coast.
"We will all get together when this is over - which will only happen if we all work together."
Tourism and Events Queensland issued advice for operators, reminding them that any guests arriving on Friday who had come directly from Brisbane should still isolate for the lockdown period, or better yet, postpone travel plans altogether.
Guests who had not been in Brisbane since January 2 would be free to continue their holidays as planned.
People who have travelled to the Moreton Bay islands are encouraged to either stay where they are for the duration of the lockdown, or to return home to Brisbane before 6pm Friday.
Greater Brisbane will go into a three-day lockdown as authorities scramble to contain the spread of the mutant UK COVID-19 strain after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Greater Brisbane, which includes the council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands, went into lockdown from 6pm Friday.
The Sunshine and Gold Coasts have not been included in the lockdown because the infected cleaner had not ventured outside the Greater Brisbane region.
However, anyone who has visited Brisbane since January 2 and has now moved on to other parts of the state or country will also be required to quarantine for the next three days.
Meanwhile, the NT Government announced that a Jetstar flight from Brisbane to the Northern Territory has been sent back to Queensland with all passengers on board.
The flight landed at Yulara at around 9.30am before being turned around.
"I want to thank Jetstar, they immediately turned this flight around and are returning those passengers to Brisbane," NT Police, Fire and Emergency services Minister Nicole Manison said.
The flight was JQ667, which departed Brisbane at 6:44am bound for Ayers Rock, according to FlightRadar24.
Yulara is the airport which services Uluru.
It comes after the Territory declared Brisbane a hotspot at 9.15am Friday in line with other states, territories and the Commonwealth.
Originally published as 'Expect to be stopped': Cops swoop on lockdown escapees