There’s nothing worse than being rousted by the fuzz when you’re in your pajamas—and pregnant to boot. Zoe-Lee Buhler, a 28 year old from Ballarat, knows what that’s like. On Wednesday Buhler was confronted in her home by Victorian police who arrested her for encouraging Australians to protest the government’s lockdown policies on Facebook.
She has been charged with the crime of incitement, which means Australian Federal Police (AFP) police checks aren’t not going to be her friend going forward.
Here is what “incitement” looks like in 2020: “Anyone from Ballarat please join us in our fight for freedom and human rights!” Buhler posted that on Facebook 30 August.
Footage of Buhler’s arrest was livestreamed on Facebook and has been viewed millions of times. The video begins with Buhler, who is clad in pink flannel pajamas, asking the officers to produce a search warrant, which they subsequently do.
“You’re under arrest in relation to incitement,” one of the officers says.
Buhler expresses shock and, as she is handcuffed, explains that she has an appointment for an ultrasound in one hour.
When the officer tells her that she is being arrested for posting about anti-lockdown demonstrations on Facebook, Buhler protests that she wasn’t violating any laws by doing so.
“You are, actually,” the officer replies. “You are breaking the law. That’s why I’m arresting you.”
Buhler and her husband both suggest that the police allow them to remove the offending Facebook post rather than take her to jail, which they maintain is “unfair” and “ridiculous.” But that doesn’t deter the officer, who states that, in accordance with the search warrant, they will be seizing any computers or mobile devices they find in the house, regardless of who they belong to.
Reminder: this took place in Australia, not Bahrain.
Police later announced that “Those still thinking of attending the protest in Ballarat on Saturday can expect a swift and firm response from police. We will have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines to anyone who is breaching the restrictions on the day, or making arrests if necessary.”
Reporters caught up with Buhler the following day. She expressed regret and accused herself of suffering “a bit of a bimbo moment.”