Police allege that a former candidate for Clive Palmer’s United Australia party has used a fake Facebook page to organise anti-lockdown protests, which makes for one huge yikes of a sentence.
Tony Pecora, 43, who was allegedly operating under the alias of ‘Arkwell Tripelligo‘, has been charged with organising the event ‘Melbourne Walk For Freedom’, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Friday.
The anti-lockdown protest was scheduled to run on Saturday in the Royal Botanic Gardens, with more than 1,500 people indicating they were going. Current rules in Victoria state that no more than two people can meet up in public.
Supposedly the man has some pretty wild beliefs, including one he apparently told the police, that COVID-19 is a “genetically engineered virus created by world banks to kill off weaker humans,” which is more than just a spicy take.
According to Detective Acting Senior Sergeant David Schaefer, Pecora also claimed to be a “combatant in the game of geopolitical chess” and “called on (his supporters) to remain united against the forces of darkness and demanded that the Victorian Premier be arrested for treasonous activities”
He has, unsurprisingly, been charged with incitement for organising the anti-lockdown protests, and currently seeks bail.
According to Sgt Schaefer, Pecora “represents a significant risk to the health and safety of the general public” and posed a “genuine risk of contracting the COVID virus himself and exposing others”.
Tony Pecora ran for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party back in 2019 but was ultimately dropped as a candidate for his conspiracist views on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Arkwell Tripelligo Facebook page is still up and running, and it is absolutely teeming with wild views, such as the belief that the COVID-19 vaccine is part of a population reduction scheme. Go off, Tripelligo.
Pecora’s lawyer suggested that he could be ordered to stay off social media and away from “like-minded people” as part of his bail conditions.
Tony Pecora’s bail application continues.Image: Getty Images / South China Morning Post