Eagle-eyed conspiracy theorists have pointed out some suspicious details on the police badge of an officer who arrested an anti-lockdown protester in her home.
The only problem is, their unfounded claim is completely wrong and has been brutally shut down by police.
Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was arrested wearing pyjamas in front of her children in her lounge room in Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, on Wednesday afternoon.
A social media user posted a screen shot from the Facebook Live video questioning whether the arresting officer’s badge was real.
A posted a screen shot questioning whether the arresting officer’s badge (pictured) is real
The social media user is suspicious due to the yellow colour and ‘blacked out’ coat of arms
‘What’s going on here Australia? We have detective sergeant Adrian Smith with a very odd looking badge here… no coat of arms and somehow blacked out,’ the conspiracy theorist posted.
‘Blue is real. These people are ANTIFA satanists. It was set-up/staged.’
But Victoria Police were quick to debunk the ill-conceived theory.
‘It’s perfectly normal looking detective ID card,’ Victoria Police told news.com.au.
‘Detectives are yellow, uniform police are blue.
‘The silver coat of arms is reflective and will change appearance depending on the angle the light hits it.’
Victoria Police have pointed out that yellow badges are given to detectives while uniform police receive blue IDs
Police in the locked down state have been forced to deal with a surge in dangerous coronavirus conspiracy claims as residents grow restless under strict stay-at-home orders.
Buhler was taken into custody and charged with incitement after creating a Facebook protest event in Ballarat against Daniel Andrew’s draconian lockdown in Victoria.
Three other protest organisers around Victoria have also been charged with incitement in the past few weeks.
‘I was scared I was being kidnapped by people, they obviously weren’t in uniforms,’ she told media waiting outside her Miner’s Rest home on Thursday morning.
‘I was just so scared, I was like oh my gosh if I disappear today I want it live on Facebook.
‘I’m only very early pregnancy so obviously you’re told not to stress out or strain.’
Buhler is about seven weeks pregnant, only finding out days ago, and was due to have her first ultrasound an hour after her arrest.
Mother-of-two Buhler with her boyfriend James Timmins, who filmed her being arrested
She said she was ‘still yet to know exactly what [incitement] means’ and planned to fight the charge claiming it was an honest mistake.
Buhler later told 3AW radio that she felt the police ‘barging in’ to her home and arresting her was ‘extreme’ and a phone call would have sufficed.
‘I had a bit of a bimbo moment and I actually didn’t realise that it wasn’t okay. I thought so long as we social distanced and wore masks it was okay,’ she said.
‘I was aware that the protest coming up in Melbourne wasn’t permitted, but I thought, in Ballarat, we’re in Stage Three lockdown.
‘I’m not a criminal person… If the police had just called me and told me to remove the post I would’ve done so.
‘I understand police were doing their job and they were very nice for me, but I wasn’t very happy with them barging into my house in front of my children.’
Buhler is about seven weeks pregnant, only finding out days ago, and was due to have her first ultrasound an hour after her arrest
Buhler’s social media pages are full of coronavirus conspiracy theories, but she insisted she believed the pandemic was real.
‘My heart goes out to anyone who’s died of covid, I know that people are getting sick, I don’t believe it’s a hoax or anything, I’m not a part of a cult,’ she said.
Buhler’s created a since-deleted ‘Freedom Day Ballarat’ event planned for 11am on Saturday on Sturt Street.
She was released on bail to face Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25 next year.
Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia anybody thinking of ‘attending the protest… 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.’
WHAT MELBOURNE’S STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issued, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 5am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare closed
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Community sport: All community sport across Victoria is now banned. Only exercise is allowed within the permitted public gathering limits of two people.