Australian ex-pat remakes Zoe Buhler’s lockdown protest and brags Victorian Police can’t touch her

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An Australian woman living in the U.S. has reposted a Facebook event for an anti-lockdown protest in Victoria that got a pregnant mother arrested.

Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was handcuffed wearing pyjamas her lounge room in front of her children in Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, on Wednesday afternoon.

She was charged with incitement and faces a $20,000 fine for creating the ‘Freedom Day Ballarat’ event page, which has since been deleted.

Jessica Pinkstone, an Australian ex-pat living in Los Angeles, made a new event page and bragged that Victorian Police couldn’t touch her.

‘I’ve recreated the Facebook event they made Zoe delete. I don’t live in Australia, so they can’t arrest me,’ she wrote on her social media.

Jessica Pinkstone (pictured), an Australian ex-pat living in Los Angeles, reposted a Facebook event for an anti-lockdown protest in Victoria that got pregnant mother Zoe Buhler arrested

Jessica Pinkstone (pictured), an Australian ex-pat living in Los Angeles, reposted a Facebook event for an anti-lockdown protest in Victoria that got pregnant mother Zoe Buhler arrested

Ms Pinkstone’s event page has the same 11am Saturday start time and Sturt Street location as Buhler’s did before it was shut down. 

‘Zoe Lee was arrested in her home, in her pajamas, in front of her two kids for making this same Facebook event,’ it reads.

‘She was forced to delete it. I imagine there are many who are now too afraid to recreate the event in fear of getting arrested also. 

‘However, I don’t live in Australia, so I WILL create this Facebook event for and in support of Zoe Lee and the human rights she was fighting for! 

‘We all should be deeply disturbed by what happened to Zoe Lee. Please know and understand that your right to peacefully protest is protected by your Australian Constitution!’

The page urged protesters to follow social distancing rules and wear masks unless they had a medical exemption.

Victoria Police claimed the protest would put lives at risk and anyone who showed up would be fined or arrested.  

‘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,’ it said.

Regional Victorian towns like Ballarat are spared the ultra-tough Stage Four lockdown but are still in Stage Three, making it illegal for more than two people to gather.

Police consider any protests to be in breach of these rules and have already charged three other organisers around Victoria with incitement.

A fundraiser by Buhler’s brother Jordan to pay for her legal fees has more than $5,000 in donations so far. 

Pinkstone's event page has the same 11am Saturday start time and Sturt Street location as Buhler's did before it was shut down

Pinkstone’s event page has the same 11am Saturday start time and Sturt Street location as Buhler’s did before it was shut down

Ms Pinkstone bragged that Victorian Police couldn't touch her because she lived overseas

Ms Pinkstone bragged that Victorian Police couldn’t touch her because she lived overseas

Her arrest has become a lightning rod for criticism of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Politicians, broadcaster Alan Jones, and thousands online have expressed outrage at her being handcuffed, and held up the arrest as an example of police overreach from special powers under Victoria’s state of emergency.

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 asked police.

‘I have an ultrasound in an hour because I’m pregnant.’  

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.

Zoe Buhler, 28, was handcuffed in her lounge room in front of her children on Wednesday afternoon and charged with incitement

Zoe Buhler, 28, was handcuffed in her lounge room in front of her children on Wednesday afternoon and charged with incitement

Buhler allegedly created this event for Saturday at 11am on Sturt Street in Ballarat

Buhler allegedly created this event for Saturday at 11am on Sturt Street in Ballarat

Buhler 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.  

Police seized all electronic devices in the house including those belonging to Mr Timmins and Buhler’s sister.

Buhler was charged with later incitement released on bail to face Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25 next year.

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.’  

Buhler's alleged offending post linked to a since-deleted 'Freedom Day Ballarat' event she created

Buhler’s alleged offending post linked to a since-deleted ‘Freedom Day Ballarat’ event she created

Mother-of-two Buhler with her boyfriend James Timmins, who filmed her being arrested

Mother-of-two Buhler with her boyfriend James Timmins, who filmed her being arrested

Former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman labelled Victoria Police the ‘shame of the nation’.

‘The Vic Police. Shame of the nation. Unwilling to deal with youth gangs,’ he tweeted.

‘Compromised totally over Lawyer X. Waved through BLM protests. Found a job they can do, enforce a tyrant’s draconian laws against normal Australians who simply want to earn a living and get on with life.’ 

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie said arresting Buhler in front of her children was ‘absolute overkill’ by the police. 

‘To come in like that and put a woman that’s pregnant in handcuffs that was [acting] peaceful, there was no need,’ she told The Today Show. 

‘They could have just knocked on the door and said ‘can you please come down to the police station to take a statement’.’

‘It could have been done a whole lot more peacefully.’   

Sunrise contributor and columnist Rita Panahi also shared her disgust at the officers’ ‘unnecessary’ actions. 

Angry Alan Jones backs up Zoe Lee

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.

He posted this comment to his Facebook page after seeing the video after Daily Mail Australia was the first to publish it. 

DANIEL ANDREWS SHOULD RESIGN TONIGHT

Thankfully I am not the only Australian who thinks this is appalling, disgusting and disgraceful.

A pregnant woman, forced into tears, handcuffed in her pyjamas, in front of her children, I think it is in Ballarat, for ‘incitement’.

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.

This woman is a victim of the appalling and unlimited powers given to the Victorian police.

Everyone knew it would come to this. You can only push people so far.

Wherein lies the violence in what you see here? The violence towards a pregnant mother is the like of which no Australian will tolerate.

Go Daniel Andrews and go now before more damage is done.

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‘FFS they’ve put in her handcuffs after she told them she’s pregnant. Victoria Police also causing unnecessary distress to her small children…all over a bloody Facebook post about a proposed protest. A post she offered to remove,’ she tweeted.

Host Karl Stefanovic said that while Buhler shouldn’t have been handcuffed in front of her children, Victoria Police were right to arrest her.

‘Everyone’s been doing the right thing, and this lady – irrespective of if she’s pregnant or not – has broken the law,’ he said. 

‘I don’t think there should be any tolerance to it.’

Buhler is about seven weeks pregnant, only finding out days ago, and was due to have her first ultrasound an hour after her arrest. 

‘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 offered to delete the post but was told she had already committed an offence

Buhler offered to delete the post but was told she had already committed an offence

Buhler said she was ‘still yet to know exactly what [incitement] means’ and planned to fight the charge claiming it was an honest mistake.

‘I just wanted to feel like I was doing something to stand up for human rights,’ she said. 

‘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.

‘If the police had just called me and told me to remove the post I would’ve done so.’ 

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