Newman’s ‘shameful’ protest plan slammed
FormerFooty Show star great Sam Newman is again courting controversy after calling on a quarter of a million Melbourne residents to protest against Stage Four lockdown.
As anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in the Victorian capital on Sunday night, Newman took to Twitter to urge thousands of Melburnians to take to the streets in solidarity.
"Of all the protests that we have put up with, how about 1/4 million of us gather in the CBD to take the City/State back, before EVERY previous march will have been pointless," he tweeted. "And hopefully a State day of co-ordination. Any takers. #StateofSurvival"
His comments were slammed by many Australians as irresponsible, with one accusing the former AFL champion of "inciting a riot".
"I have read your tweet three times and it's still incomprehensible. But good luck with whatever self-indulgent, poorly conceived action you're proposing," one person wrote, while another posted: "God spare us the opinions of sportsmen."
"Why are you inciting a riot? Despicable shameful behaviour. Don't you care about the health of your fellow melbournians (sic)? We don't have long to go and we have a chance to kick this thing. No thanks to the likes of you," another shared, while another said: "For god sake Sam, just go away please."
However, Newman insisted he was only encouraging a peaceful protest against coronavirus restrictions.
"There'll be no rioting. No looting. No arson. No violence. Just an expression of desperation for our sanity," he posted.
But Newman also had plenty of support from other like-minded residents who are increasingly frustrated by the state's tough coronavirus lockdown measures.
"C'mon Victoria safety in numbers. Wish I could be there. Make it massive!" one wrote, while another posted: "You'll have helicopters over your place and cops knocking at your door soon Sam saying that sort of provocative stuff! Saying that I'm with you. We have to take our democracy back - the current situation is ridiculous."
"A protest at some point needs to happen so our political class can get a sense of the real opposition to the unbalanced measures put in place. At the moment they're been fed BS poll numbers," another wrote.
Newman has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions for months now.
In early August, he made headlines after griping that golf courses had been closed. In April, he marched on Victoria's Parliament House in Melbourne to demand the state's golf courses be reopened immediately, complaining that his local courses were shut while those in other states were open.
He has repeatedly criticised Premier Daniel Andrews' handling of the crisis, tweeting in early August that it was "lunacy" to close golf courses while bottle shops were free to trade.
Melbourne residents are in the midst of the strictest lockdown of anyone on the planet, and are only able to leave their homes for four reasons - shopping for groceries and essential items, medical needs and caregiving, daily exercise in their local area and work where it's not possible to do so from home.
Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day, and must take place within 5km of home. Mask-wearing is also mandatory and all restaurants and cafes are closed for dining in.
An estimated one in 10 Victorians is now unemployed according to a new Treasury analysis of the 'real' jobless rate in the state battered by COVID-19 shutdowns.
Originally published as Newman's 'shameful' protest plan slammed