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General News    H3'ed 9/3/20

Pregnant Australian Woman Arrested for organizing a Covid anti-lockdown Protest March

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   3 comments, In Series: Covid
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Zoe Lee's Facebook posting
Zoe Lee's Facebook posting
(Image by Zoe Lee)
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Apologies for the poor quality image above, but I wanted to capture the exact post that got Zoe Lee arrested before it got taken down (more on that possibility in a moment). She didn't attend the Melborne, Australia protest. She never had the chance since she was arrested before it took place. Just issuing the posting - even with cautions to socially distance and wear a mask, so as not to be arrested, was enough to get Zoe hauled out of her house, in her pajamas. What happened to her afterwards is unclear. The comments section after the video which can be seen here is 100% outraged and in support, as of this writing. Comments were still pouring in when I was alerted to this story, but because of Facebook's new terms of policy, I was afraid the post would be taken down or even the account deleted, in Facebook's recent reactionary fears of being suppressed by the American government. Our government is perhaps only a few steps behind the Australian government in declaring anti-Covid free speech no longer free. Even a company as powerful as Facebook is buckling under recent Congressional inquiries.

Australia, meanwhile, is gone, as far as freedom to assemble and free speech is concerned. However, it's not clear if Australia ever really had freedom of speech:

There seems to be nothing in the Constitution allowing it, and there just seems to have been a common tradition, which has now apparently ended, at least selectively when it comes to Covid protests against government policy. Or perhaps it is the protest itself which is the violation, but in that case, Zoe Lee had not yet committed the crime she was arrested for. As far as I know, pre-crimes are not prosecuatable in Australia, yet, and a good lawyer might want to argue for that in court.

The Right to Peaceably Assemble is protected in Australia, however, according to their own Attorney General's website.

What is the right to freedom of assembly and association?

The right to peaceful assembly protects the right of individuals and groups to meet and to engage in peaceful protest. The right to freedom of association protects the right to form and join associations to pursue common goals.

Where does the right to freedom of assembly and association come from?

Australia is a party to seven core international human rights treaties. The right to freedom of assembly and association is contained in articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - external site and article 8(1)(a) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) - external site.

See also article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) - external site , article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - external site and article 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) - external site.

It strains credulity to believe that there is a Right to Assemble but no right to announce that there will be an assembly. Again, an Australian lawyer could answer that better than this current non-legal American journalist.

But Covid is providing the excuse to upend our rights - or at least, what most people thought was their rights - in so many ways. You don't have to be a Conspiracy believer to see that; I usually lean towards incompetence when faced with a choice between the two, but in this case it really is a conspiracy to deprive citizens of the ability to protest a Covid policy they disagree with.

They are willing to sacrifice an otherwise law-abiding citizen's health by locking her up in jail, subject to stress (while pregnant), breaking up her family, which apparently also consists of an infant, and possibly other children (this is not clear from the short but intimate video). Covid is providing the cover for autocratic rulers everywhere.

And for what?

Australia, according to the widely followed John's Hopkins daily updated interactive "Dashboard" has had 26,049 cases as of this writing, out of a population of 25,553,146 (also live, from Worldometers). 26,049 cases out of 25,553,146 is 0.101940481%. And that's just cases. What about deaths? That is only 0.00265329365%, a number so small as to be unidentifiable in normal life. In America, 94% of Covid deaths are in people with one or more co-morbidity factors, and the same is probably roughly true in Australia.

Anyone who still thinks that Covid-19 is the reason for locking down a population and the loss of freedoms that have been experienced all over the world, is either:

A. In one of the few "hot spots" that have already crested, probably not due to any policy, but just because viral diseases peak and then rapidly decline as a normal course of events (peak panic is a real "thing" too and can easily result in policies being implemented at a time when Covid-19 is already near its peak of infection rates), or

B. So scared and paranoid that no amount of reason can dissuade them from believing government propaganda.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a former blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former and current President of Common Ground-NY (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of (more...)

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