25/7 UPDATE: NSW Police have found and charged the men involved in the viral photo.
24/7 ORIGINAL: Earlier today, an image went viral of an anti-lockdown protestor ‘punching’ a police horse in the face. However, footage of the incident has now emerged which calls that into question.
The viral image, originally shared by AFP News Agency, has sparked outrage online and rightly so. It really does look like a man in a “Free Speech” singlet is being violent with a horse, which is undoubtedly cruel.
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Australia’s two largest cities, with several arrested in Sydney after violent clashes with police https://t.co/fM7nMsEDVx pic.twitter.com/38yuvgMi2g
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 24, 2021
The photo has now exploded all over social media, being shared across multiple platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
An absolute moron, wearing a “Free Speech” singlet, during an anti-lockdown protest, punching a horse.
Put this image on a stamp. pic.twitter.com/BeWnc3GVJp
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) July 24, 2021
NSW Police also shared the image of troop horse Tobruk being shoved on Facebook, with many people commenting their support.
“I hope this called human is brought to justice,” one person wrote.
“Poor horse sending hugs and kisses and prayers to innocent horse,” another person commented.
Thankfully, Tobruk is recovering and safe – as confirmed by the ‘Mounted Unit NSW Police Force’ Facebook page.
“Our beautiful brave Tobruk safe and uninjured after his awful encounter today. Thank you again everyone for your words of support,” wrote the Mounted Unit Facebook page.
However, as much as we want someone who is cruel toward animals brought to justice, there is some conflicting footage that shows the man ‘shoving’ the horse, but not actually ‘punching’ it. Still awful either way, but if it’s the difference between someone getting arrested or not, it’s probably worth addressing.
Unfortunately, the only publicly available video footage of the incident comes from some conspiracy theorist whack-job, so please, please, please take this video with a grain of salt.
View this post on Instagram
At the end of the day, I’m sure NSW Police will take all the footage available into consideration when deciding on what happens to “Free Speech” guy.
But at least we can sleep at night knowing that Tobruk is ok and probably being fed loads of lil treaties for his bravery.