A small group of around 40 people, mostly unmasked, took part in a anti-lockdown 'peace' or 'freedom walk' in Nelson Bay on Saturday, setting off from Apex Park.
Group spokesperson Jackie George, speaking on behalf of those who participated in the walk along the Nelson Bay foreshore, said the action was planned as "a walk for freedom".
"Freedom from the tyranny that our government is committing at the moment, freedom for the right to not be coerced into a medical procedure and not to be discriminated against for choosing to decline such a procedure," Ms George said.
"Personally, I am standing up so my grandchildren do not grow up in a world that facemasks and fear is normal and freedom is a privilege. A God-given privilege and a privilege that our forefathers fought for.
"I would also like to thank Nelson Bay police for not interacting."
The walk coincided with a series of anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests that took place across Australia, including Newcastle, Central Coast and the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne on the weekend.
While not wanting to comment on Saturday's action in Nelson Bay, Inspector Dan Skelly, from the Port Stephens-Hunter Police District, said that local police were always on the lookout for people breaching the public health orders.
"We stand ready to enforce the orders and deal with anyone who wants to flaunt these orders," he said.
Inspector Skelly said that nearly 600 tickets had been issued within the police district since August 2021.
"These mainly deal with illegal gatherings and people not wearing masks. We do rely on the community to provide us with information on anything and we will follow up any information which can be anonymous," he said. "We will take the necessary action regardless of where the information comes from."
In NSW people face fines of $5000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules; $5000 on the spot fine for lying on a permit or lying to a contract tracer; $3000 on the spot fine for breaching the two person outdoor exercise/recreation rule; and $500 for failure to comply with a direction to wear or carry a mask for those aged 18 years or older.
The anti-lockdown walk in Nelson Bay follows a protest held in Raymond Terrace on August 31 which resulted in arrests and about 20 fines issued by police.
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