A pregnant woman who was arrested for allegedly organising an anti-lockdown protest in Victoria has been granted new freedoms in legal case.
Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was handcuffed in her pyjamas and charged with incitement at her home in Miners Rest, Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne last month.
She is accused of creating a Facebook post which encouraged people to break the state’s strict COVID-19 lockdown measures.
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Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was handcuffed in her pyjamas and charged with incitement at her home in Miners Rest, Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne last month
The young mum was arrested but released on bail with seven strict conditions.
She had a legal victory on Friday after her lawyer had all but two of her bail conditions dropped, Seven News reported.
One of the eased conditions allows Buhler to visit the Ballarat CBD but she is still not allowed to post anything on social media that may incite others to break coronavirus rules.
She is also required to notify police within 24 hours if she moves home.
Buhler will return to the Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25.
Her arrest went viral after it was filmed by her partner and posted on social media.
The video, which has since made international headlines in US and UK media, shows the confused Buhler asking why she is being arrested.
‘Excuse me, incitement for what, what on Earth? I’m in my pyjamas, my two kids are here,’ she said to the officers, clearly confused.
‘I have an ultrasound in an hour because I’m pregnant.’
The young mum was arrested but released on bail with seven strict conditions. She had a legal victory on Friday after her lawyer had all but two of her bail conditions dropped
The increasingly distressed mother insisted she wasn’t breaking any laws by creating and then promoting the event.
‘Actually you are, that’s why we’re arresting you in relation to incitement,’ police replied.
Buhler’s alleged post linked to a since-deleted ‘Freedom Day Ballarat’ event she allegedly created.
She offered to delete the post as her boyfriend James Timmins tried to mediate while cradling their infant child in his arms.
‘How about she just doesn’t do the event? It’s not like she’s done it, she made a post,’ he said.
Police were unmoved, telling her: ‘You’ve already committed the offence.’
Buhler was distressed by this point and crying so much she could barely tell officers that she ‘didn’t realise’ she was ‘doing anything wrong’ in making the online event.
Ms Buhler allegedly created a ‘Freedom Day’ event on September 5 at 11am on Sturt Street in Ballarat
Buhler will return to the Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25 over the incitement charge
Police seized all electronic devices in the house including those belonging to Mr Timmins and Buhler’s sister.
Radio king-turned Sky News pundit Alan Jones was so enraged by seeing the video of Buhler’s arrest that he called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to resign.
‘Thankfully I am not the only Australian who thinks this is appalling, disgusting and disgraceful,’ he wrote in a rant to his Facebook page after Daily Mail Australia published the video.
‘The only person guilty of incitement is the Premier of Victoria.
‘His outlandish grab for power, his disdain of any accountability is forcing people to behaviour simply designed to take back their freedom.’
The Facebook event which led to her arrest was organised for September 5, as part of a national ‘Freedom Day’ movement against coronavirus restrictions.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been facing increasing pressure over the widespread impact of his stage four lockdown measures.
After three months of draconian restrictions Melburnians are eagerly awaiting the announcement on Sunday about what will be eased by the government.
Victoria only reported one case of COVID-19 on Saturday and no deaths.