5 Arrests Were Made At Sydney’s Invasion Day Protest But Police Say Most Were ‘Well Behaved’

invasion day

Five people have been arrested at Sydney’s Invasion Day rally, despite a police spokesman asserting that protesters were “well behaved.”

Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing told reporters that, with the exception of a small group, protesters were largely peaceful and law-abiding.

“They were separated as best they possibly could and that was the agreement that we reached the protest organisers and, let me tell you, these are difficult things to police,” Willing said in a press conference.

“At the end of the day, I think that the protest organisers abided by the agreement, police facilitated as best they possibly could to ensure that people were in groups of less than 500 and distanced.”

However, protesters at the scene claim they were “kettled” by police, who tried to “stop legal observers from assisting.”

According to PEDESTRIAN.TV’s Zac Crellin, protesters were “non-violent and relatively socially-distanced,” however, one protester was allegedly attacked after asking Inspector Gary Coffey to wear a mask (as protesters were doing).

“He wasn’t wearing a face mask. When one of the protesters kept telling him to wear one, he grabbed the protesters and passed him off to two more officers who arrested him. A few of the cops shoved away legal observers who were trying to get the man’s details,” Crellin said.

There are multiple reports on social media that Inspector Coffey – who is also receiving the prestigious Australian Police Medal (APM) today – refused to wear a mask at the event.


New South Wales Police provided the following statement to PEDESTRIAN.TV regarding the allegations made against Inspector Gary Coffey:

“He did have a mask but he was also using the megaphone to disperse the crowd and telling people where to go so obviously he had taken it off for that,” a police spokeswoman told PEDESTRIAN.TV “It’s not actually mandatory to wear a mask outside (in New South Wales) anyway but to do that he had taken the mask off for that purpose.”

“In terms of the allegations of aggression, there’s not really anything to say to that. I understand that he was around when somebody had been involved in a scuffle, so this was post-protest.”

“This was a group who wasn’t really part of the protest per-say, they were agitated and they were trying to march when they werent meant to be marching as per the agreement with protest organisers.”

“They were given warnings, and that’s when they had to be moved on.”

Protesters claim that police blocked exits to the park after this incident, making it impossible for them to leave the area.

“A couple for minor scuffles broke out and that’s when cops arrested even more people, sometimes tripping them and pinning them to the ground,” PEDESTRIAN.TV’s Zac Crellin said.

Police reportedly cornered protesters and allowed them to disperse in groups no larger than 30, to which they peacefully complied, according to a reporter at the scene.

“Once people could actually leave they peacefully dispersed,” a protester said.

NSW police confirmed that protesters were dispersed in smaller groups, but asserted that it was merely a harm-reduction strategy.

“That was essentially to stop them from going in a large group and marching through traffic,” a police spokeswoman told PEDESTRIAN.

Overall, NSW Police appeared satisfied with the protesters, who were *overwhelmingly* peaceful and cooperative.