A viral video has revealed a snippet of Western Sydney’s lockdown order, with dozens of police cars parked on a single street. The NSW Government has continued to come under fire after announcing an extended police operation for Western Sydney following the state’s latest Covid-19 outbreak.
Over 100 police, including several mounted units, were deployed in the city’s southwest on Friday after concerns locals were flouting lockdown restrictions. The Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, and Liverpool local government areas have seen high rates of Covid-19 transmission in recent days, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian warning of consequences if case numbers continue to grow.
The decision to bring in additional law enforcement attracted immediate criticism from community figures, claiming the increased police presence was a “double standard”. At the same time, citizens in the city’s eastern suburbs roamed beaches in droves.
A video posted to popular TikTok account The Area Movement showed a snippet of the recent western Sydney crackdown, filming several police cars parked on a single street in Bass Hill. 21 police vehicles can be seen in the short clip, which has been viewed over 120,000 times in under 24 hours, attracting hundreds of comments.
The “high visibility compliance operation” in the three LGAs included the NSW Police dog unit, highway patrol, and helicopter support. While some pointed out there was indeed a police station nearby, most commenters were heavily critical of the increased police presence in the region.
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi was one of many politicians firing off on social media, urging public health, community engagement, and vaccination to be needed, over-targeting “already marginalized communities”.
“This is a terrible turn of events. Over-policing multicultural communities is a recipe for disaster,” she said. “The mounted police were never called into Avalon or Westfield Bondi.”
On Thursday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian held a closed-door meeting with multicultural leaders in Sydney’s southwest to discuss criticism over the controversial police operation.
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone was particularly outspoken against the order, accusing the state government of turning the latest coronavirus outbreak into a game of politics.
Mr. Carbone said the recent outbreak was “not a Western Sydney problem”, blaming several failures in the hotel quarantine system on the recent spike. The outspoken mayor also called on the Federal Government to provide financial assistance to those immediately affected by the new laws forcing people out of work.
“I‘m not going to cop this. This is something that came from hotel lockdown and from the hotel quarantine,“ Mr. Carbone told Channel 9’s, Today Show.
“The prime minister needs to make sure they provide support both financially and through services to people out here in Western Sydney.
“I just think we’ve got to work out a way to stop the virus coming in from hotel quarantine; it’s a controlled area; that’s where everyone’s frustrated. Fairfield’s a perfect example, an area that never had the virus, but the virus spreads.”