A fire-breathing yoga teacher named Petrol Panther says his only regret for spinning flaming batons in front of protesting Covidiots at Sydney’s super-spreading ‘Freedom Rally’ event is that he cut his own hair the night before.
Protesters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lashed out on Saturday against lockdowns that subject around 14 million Australians to restrictions imposed to quell the worrying number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The number of coronavirus cases in the Sydney outbreak grew with a record for the Delta strain of 163 cases on Saturday and a further 141 on Sunday.
But it wasn’t enough to stop about 3,500 outraged Sydneysiders from breaking the rules and causing chaos on the streets without facemasks, exposing millions of people to the highly contagious strain.
Among the protesters was heavily tattooed ‘energy healer’ James Ward-Collins, who turned huge crowds of spectators with fire during the rally.
Pictured: James Ward-Collins raising his fire sticks at the anti-lockdown protest in Sydney on Saturday
James Ward-Collins (pictured), 28, said he was shocked when police sprayed him with a fire extinguisher
Video footage from Arial shows the 28-year-old, who hails from Sydney’s affluent Castle Hill but lives in Maroubra in the city’s eastern suburbs, putting on a high-energy show for seething Australians gathering close to to look.
Moments later, police used a fire extinguisher on the shirtless man to end the show.
He was taken away in handcuffs as the protest descended into pandemonium.
Many participants carried placards that read ‘Jesus saves’ and ‘my body, my choice’, chanted provocative phrases such as ‘f**k Gladys’ and competed in the streets.
Ward-Collins told Daily Mail Australia he has no regrets about the performance itself, as “I believe there is an agenda to destroy our Australian culture, our rights, our freedoms, our small businesses and our ‘normal’ way of life.” ‘.
Pictured: James Ward-Collins is taken away by police after being sprayed with a fire extinguisher
James Ward-Collins (pictured) was arrested and charged with ignoring Covid-19 restrictions
James Ward-Collins (pictured) appears in court next month. He lives in Maroubra in the eastern suburbs of Sydney
‘I’m a fire lover and I got my stuff down and I wasn’t looking for attention or’ [sic] try to boost my ego or something, it was literally in the moment – felt the only time to do it safely in such a big crow and I did it.’
Recalling the impromptu show, he said he was “really in the moment” when police turned a fire extinguisher on him.
He claimed that the police had not asked him to stop his impromptu street performance before being shot.
“It blinded me and stunned me and then I was pulled from the crowd by the police and handcuffed and taken away,” he said.
He was charged with ignoring Covid-19’s movement restrictions and will appear in court next month, but his only regret was cutting his own hair on Friday night.
Ward-Collins acknowledged the event – which he claims was attended by 10,000, rather than 3,500 reported by police – could lead to more Covid cases, but is not concerned.
“If I get the virus, I’d rather recover naturally without having to inject an extra shot of pollutants into my body,” he said.
Pictured: James Ward-Collins gang escorted out of the Sydney CBD in handcuffs
James Ward-Collins Says He’s A ‘Fire Enthusiast’ And Wasn’t About To Draw Such A Crowd With His Revolving Fire
“Anyone who wants to get vaccinated should do so and anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated should be able to live their lives without enforced compliance.”
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday that a woman in her thirties with no pre-existing medical conditions has died from Covid-19.
“This is a horribly cruel disease, which is why our response is so strong against it,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian also told reporters that photos of the violence erupting in the streets on Saturday “broke my heart.”
“Millions of people in our state are doing the right thing and it broke my heart that people had such contempt for their communities. I loathe it.’
James Ward-Collins says his only regret at the protest is that he cut his own hair on Friday
James Ward-Collins attended the lockdown protest in Sydney on Saturday is a yoga instructor and runs his own studio
“Thank you to the people who do the right thing and to those who don’t… you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
So far 57 people who attended the rally have been charged, more than 500 infringement notices have been issued and a strike unit has been set up to identify others who attended.
As the chaos unfolded, protesters were filmed beating a police officer in a garden bed in front of the city hall station in the city’s CBD as officers attempted to make an arrest.
More arrests are likely.
Footage shows angry protesters attacking the police and throwing potted plants at officers on horseback.
Frenzied crowds heard shouting ‘you serve us!’ to police when a group of protesters were filmed as officers crashed into a garden bed in front of City Hall station.
Another man is seen on the ground after being tackled by police in Sydney as thousands gathered to demonstrate against the city’s lockdowns
With the help of his colleagues, the young officer tries to wipe off the ink spilled on his uniform and skin
Police see pepper spray fired at protesters who are selfishly endangering others during recent Covid outbreak
At least five officers were seen struggling to take down a single protester, before then leading him away in handcuffs as crowds of protesters taunted the police.
NSW police posted a photo of a protester allegedly beating a horse on Saturday night and begging the public to identify the man.
‘Good news! Troop horse Tobruk was not injured and is recovering at the stable after a hard day’s work,” said a police message on Facebook.
NSW Police Secretary David Elliott was furious at the rally, labeling those in attendance ‘selfish suckers’.
“What we saw today were 3,500 very selfish idiots – people who thought the law didn’t apply to them,” said Mr Elliott.
A man with blood dripping from his nose is handcuffed during violent anti-lockdown protests in Sydney on Saturday
Chaos in Sydney: Tens of thousands swarmed on George Street in the CBD on Saturday for the anti-lockdown protest
He also said there is “no doubt in my mind” that at least one of the protesters had Covid.
“If we don’t see a spike in the areas where these protesters are coming from over the next week, I’ll be very, very surprised,” he said.
“If we’re talking about a super spreader event, today was the best case study I’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.”
“I am calling on all 3,500 people to get tested tomorrow, if not for themselves for the sake of their families and friends,” he added on Sunday.
Health Officer Brett Sutton took to Twitter to point out the irony of protesters claiming their cause was “freedom.”
‘I like freedom. Who doesn’t love freedom? I want freedom not to be among the more than 4 million official (and probably 10 million actual) Covid deaths worldwide,” he wrote.
Let’s not pretend that ‘marching for freedom’ will actually deliver the precious freedom we all need and desire.
“New variants could still be disastrous for much of the world, including Australia.”
He said ‘giving up’ to try to prevent the spread of Covid could be disastrous.
“If infections potentially overwhelm our health system, it will cause illness and death on a terrible scale,” he said.
On Sundays, Mrs. Berejiklian thanked the “brave cops who risk their safety.”
“This type of activity during the lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be imposed against anyone engaged in this type of illegal activity.”