Victoria Police have arrested another anti-lockdown campaigner accused of inciting an upcoming protest, with footage of his detainment drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers across social media.
James Bartolo, who operates a Facebook group linked to Melbourne’s anti-lockdown movement, was arrested at his home on Friday morning.
The Australian reports Bartolo is accused of inciting a protest online, in potential violation of Melbourne’s current Stage 4 restrictions on public gatherings.
Footage of the incident, captured by the 27-year-old and shared on Facebook, shows plain-clothed and uniformed police officers standing outside his front door.
“You don’t have authorisation to be on the property,” Bartolo says from an upstairs balcony.
After the officers ask Bartolo to come downstairs, he tells the officers “I was on the toilet.”
After a brief back-and-forth, another officer arrives with a battering ram. Police knock through Bartolo’s front door.
The footage shows Bartolo running downstairs, where he is detained by the officers.
Bartolo was charged with incitement, two counts of possessing prohibited weapons, and two counts of resisting police, 7News reports.
He’s slated to face Sunshine Magistrates Court in May.
He’s also posted gear related to conspiracy theories about a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
But videos posted to Bartolo’s Facebook after today’s arrest call on followers not to attend protest events flagged for tomorrow.
Bartolo is the second Victorian charged with incitement in recent days to share footage of their arrest on Facebook.
Zoe Buhler, 28, was arrested at her home near Ballarat on Wednesday after allegedly inciting an anti-lockdown protest.
That footage has been viewed millions of times.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius yesterday defended the officers involved in Buhler’s arrest, saying he was “absolutely satisfied” by their actions.
He added that four people have been charged thus far in relation to planned protests on Saturday.