Renee Altakrity, 36, was one of dozens of protesters who flouted social distancing rules in Sydney to rally against social distancing measures on Saturday, as part of an “Exercise Our Rights” protest.
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Vision circulated on social media of the anti-vaccine cosmetic nurse resisting police while clinging to the crying young boy.
She was taken to Surry Hills Police Station where she was fined $1000 for failing to comply with directions relating to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller yesterday confirmed Ms Altakrity is under investigation for allegedly operating her business during the state’s coronavirus lockdown.
“If this woman had given police her details at the scene, she would have been given a ticket and would’ve left with her son. But she refused to do that. She caused this,” Mr Fuller told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
“They all went there knowing it was an unlawful protest so why you’re taking a four-year-old into that situation is beyond me.”
He went on to defend the actions of his officers. “I think the police showed an enormous amount of restraint. I certainly hope she pleads not guilty so that (police body cam) footage comes out,” he said.
On Saturday the woman was filmed appearing to get into an altercation with police outside NSW Parliament in Sydney’s CBD while protesting.
She was wearing a sign that said: “If you don’t know rights, you don’t have any. Magna Carta.”
“My son is with me. I am not under arrest for anything. You need to get your hands off me,” she said.
She was fined for breaching social distancing and arrested for not giving police her name.
Police have said the protest – which attracted about 40 people – was not authorised, social distancing was not taking place and those in attendance were asked to disperse.
Ms Alkakrity later posted a video interview taken on a mobile phone, where she recalled the incident. “I cannot believe this is happening,” she said. “They’ve left me in the back of the paddy wagon at the police station. They’ve taken my son inside.
“I don’t know what else to say.”
During the interview, Ms Altakrity teared up as she recalled the events of Saturday afternoon including the moment her distressed four-year-old son was taken from her arms as she was forced into the back of the police van.
However, she also said that police had originally allowed her to depart the protest but she had returned several times to the gathering and it was only then she was arrested.
During the online interview, she said her son had asked if he could come with her to the protest because he wanted to “exercise my rights” and to hold up a sign asking to “have the parks back”.
Parks have not been closed in NSW but playground equipment has been a no-go area for several weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Ms Altakrity said she attended the really because she had done “my own research outside the box” and had a right to her opinion.
According to the “Exercising My Rights” Facebook page and website, the protests are aimed at ridding NSW of the COVID-19 lockdowns. They are currently being wound back.
“These lockdowns have stripped us of our basic liberties in an unprecedented way,” the website reads.
“People have lost their jobs, their businesses destroyed, and who knows how many lives will be lost from the consequences of these extreme social-distancing laws.”
NSW Police said the protest was unauthorised and around 40 people “were not exercising adequate social distancing”.
They were advised to move on, police said, including a 36-year-old woman who refused to provide her details to police.
“After she refused to give officers her details and would not comply with their direction to move on, police arrested the woman; however, she resisted, and a struggle ensued.
“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 child was placed in the care of a relative and the Department of Family and Community Services were notified.”
– with Benedict Brook