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Two demonstrators have been charged with animal cruelty after attacking police horses during Saturday’s violent anti-lockdown protests.
The despicable moment a maskless rioter punched a horse named Tobruk was caught on camera and prompted an immediate investigation, with authorities putting a public call out online to help track down the person involved.
But there were several other incidents throughout the day in which other horses were pelted with rocks and pot plants as the riots got out of hand.
On Sunday, 33-year-old Kristian Polkownik and 36-year-old Remon Korkise will face Parramatta Local Court for their treatment of animals during the demonstration.
The confronting image of Tobruk being attacked came as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of cities across Australia on Saturday afternoon in simultaneous protests against Covid-19 lockdowns.
A cowardly maskless thug was photographed punching a police horse during Saturday’s violent anti-lockdown protest
A long-haired protester – wearing a t-shirt bearing the message ‘free speech – more important than your feelings’ – was seen throwing his left fist at the horse’s face during chaotic scenes outside Sydney’s Town Hall station.
In total 57 protesters in Sydney were charged with various offences and a special strikeforce had been set up to track down thousands of maskless demonstrators.
Protesters were filmed attacking police and hurling pot plants at officers on horseback as the rallies descended into chaos.
Frenzied crowds were heard screaming ‘you serve us!’ to police as others were filmed crash tackling officers into a garden bed.
There were wild scenes in protests across the Sydney CBD on Saturday afternoon, prompting Gladys Berejiklian to vow the activists would face ‘the full force of the law’
There are concerns the protests will lead to a devastating Covid super spreader event.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday evening vowed those who gathered for the illegal demonstration would face ‘the full force of the law’.
‘I am utterly disgusted by the illegal protestors in the city today whose selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘The protesters have shown utter contempt for their fellow citizens who are currently doing it tough.’
Ms Berejiklian thanked the ‘brave officers who put their safety on the line’.
NSW Police have appealed for help identifying the long-haired man in this photo who punched Troop horse Tobruk during Saturday’s wild anti-lockdown protests
NSW Police later released a photo of Tobruk resting in his stable to show the horse was unharmed
‘This type of activity during lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought against anyone who engages in this type of illegal activity.’
NSW Police Minister David Elliott labelled those in the rallies as ‘boofheads’ and said 90 had been fined across the state with many more arrests expected.
‘What we saw today was 3,500 very selfish boofheads — people that thought the law didn’t apply to them,’ he said.
Wild protests erupted in Melbourne and around Australia on Saturday and thousands of reckless residents demanded an end to lockdowns
‘If we don’t see a [Covid] spike in the areas these protesters came from in the next week I’ll be very, very surprised,’ Elliott said.
‘It was just a whole lot of halfwits. There is no doubt in my mind that at least one individual there today had COVID, it is statistically impossible for us not to consider that.
‘I’m appealing to all 3,500 people to get tested tomorrow, if not for themselves for the sake of their family and friends.’
NSW Police have set up Strike Force Seasoned to identify and prosecute those who broke the law during the protest.
‘Our officers have already started to identify attendees and will continue for as long as required to identify and prosecute all those who broke the law today,’ Deputy Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon said.
Some protesters took it upon themselves to set off smoke bombs during protests in Melbourne where six were arrested
Protesters were met by mounted police outside Town Hall in Sydney – with neither group prepared to back down