Disturbing footage out of Australia has surfaced showing a woman forcefully being arrested and dragged away from her scared and screaming son by several police officers while she was protesting the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The incident took place in Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD) near Parliament of New South Wales, late in the afternoon on Saturday, May 9. Two videos posted to Facebook show the woman, who has been identified as cosmetic nurse Renee Altakrity, being dragged into a police van after resisting arrest for several minutes while holding her hysterical 4-year-old son. The police forcefully took her son from her before putting her in the police vehicle.
Prior to her arrest, News.com.au reports Altakrity was protesting the coronavirus lockdown with around 40 other people as part of the “Exercising My Rights” group. She was wearing a yellow sign that read, “If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any. Magna Carta.”
Ultimately, she was issued an infringement notice and a $1000 fine for failing to comply with direction relating to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Altakrity posted the clips to her own Facebook page saying, “Unlawful, inhumane – shame on you all! I held my I integrity even when your [sic] ripped my son from my arms.”
The video of the altercation with police starts out with Altakrity refusing to give the officers her name before attempting to walk away down the street.
“I don’t know how you guys are going home in honour tonight and trying to infringe me with a notice which I don’t consent to because we’re doing nothing wrong,” she told the group of officers.
“You guys should be here holding the signs with us, defending us. I don’t consent to what you’re doing,” she said, as a female officer asked for her name.
“We’re doing nothing wrong … We’re not acting in aggression … Am I under arrest?,” she asked.
“No, I’m just trying to speak to you … I am asking for your name because I do believe you are committing an offence,” the officer responded.
“I’m here fighting for not just myself and my kids, but for your children too,” she said before walking away.
The second clip starts moments later as the incident escalates with police forcefully dragging her to the van, with her small child in her arms still, as onlookers protest the officers’ actions.
“Why is she under arrest? She’s not done anything wrong,” one woman yells.
“Leave her alone … What are you proving?” a man is heard saying.
“Out of everybody they grab a woman with a child,” he added.
“You’re scaring your son,” the female officer is heard saying while the young boy screamed and cried.
“Mummy is not going,” the boy insisted. “Leave mummy alone.”
Towards the end of the video, after the police have removed her son from her arms, the child is seen kicking and screaming as he is being held by two officers.
A statement issued by NSW police regarding Altakrity’s son said, “The child was removed from the woman’s hold and she was taken to Surry Hills Police Station, where her identity was established, and she was issued an infringement notice for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to COVID-19.”
The statement added, “The child was placed in the care of a relative and the Department of Family and Community Services were notified.”
Altakrity received criticism for taking her young son with her to protest to which she responded, telling the Daily Mail:
“My son wanted to come with me.
“My children are very opinionated, they probably get that from me, but he had every right to be there.”
This had to have been a traumatic experience for both mother and son. The police arrested Altakrity for violating social distancing restrictions. Her only crime was being too close to other human beings. Consider that! Let this serve as an urgent reminder of the oppression we will be facing if we sit back and do nothing.
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