A volunteer delivering food to residents trapped inside Melbourne’s locked down housing commission towers has been arrested overnight.
The man, who was wearing a facemask and high-vis vest like other volunteers, can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” as at least three police tackle him to the ground.
Police then detained him outside the Flemington tower.
In footage posted to social media, a woman describing herself as a mental healthcare worker can be heard trying to intervene and deescalate the situation.
“Take the mask off so he can breathe,” she said.
Residents of the towers have been completely unable to leave in order to buy food and other essentials, after the state government sent police to block all exits in response to a surge in coronavirus cases across Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the frozen food and dry goods provided by the government has been slammed for being minimal, culturally inappropriate, and just gross in general.
Many Muslim residents have said that their meals don’t appear to be Halal, while there have also been instances of vegetarians receiving meals containing meat and people receiving Weet-bix but no milk.
Because of this, there’s been a massive effort from volunteers stepping up to help their community.
These include the newly-formed MutualAID SE as well as AMSSA Youth Connect, affiliated with a local Islamic centre. Outside groups providing assistance include the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Victorian Trades Hall.
A spokesperson for Victoria Police told the Today Show they are are “investigating” the incident.
Whatever the outcome, incidents like this make the volunteers’ work way harder than it needs to be at the time when the government is failing the residents.