A group of anti-mask protesters who marched through a popular shopping centre in Bondi Junction on Sunday have been slammed on social media.
Footage emerged of the protest that showed people holding signs that read “masks increase your risk of infection!” while marching through the Westfield shopping centre singing to the beat of man playing a large drum.
The display, which happened on the first day that new mask restrictions came into effect, did not impress some locals including public relations director and socialite Roxy Jacenko who posted footage of the protesters on her Instagram Stories, writing that it was “disgraceful”.
“Sorry. But people have died,” she wrote. “Put a f**king mask on. This does not sit well with me.”
She also noted that it was also disappointing to see kids being taught to have disregard for the advice of authorities.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge also posted footage of the protesters, noting that checking out the “right wing religious fringe” who oppose mask wearing was a great way to convince people to wear masks.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the protesters sang “I would rather be a human than a slave” and “you can stick your sanitiser up your arse”.
New restrictions came into effect on Sunday that require people in Greater Sydney to wear a mask in places like shopping centres and on trains.
The Bondi Junction protest came ahead of a $200 fine that will be enforced from Monday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement that face masks would also be compulsory for staff in hospitality venues and casinos, and for patrons using gaming services.
Children under 12 are exempt but are encouraged to wear masks when possible.
The move to make masks mandatory has been supported by experts including University of New South Wales Professor of Epidemiology Mary-Louise McLaws.
“Masks are an important part of the infection prevention bundle,” she told the Today show on Sunday morning.
“Making it mandatory takes away the decision making by somebody who may not realise that they have the early phase of COVID, and they can spread it just by breathing out and of course by talking.”
NSW reported eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday while Victoria reported three new cases.
Thousands of people in Sydney have been asked to isolate after a second cluster was identified at a BWS bottle shop in the western Sydney suburb of Berala.