Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops arrived in Sydney over the weekend and began going door to door on Monday to ensure that residents are complying with the latest lockdown orders. Approximately 300 soldiers were reportedly deployed in New South Wales (NSW) to help police enforce the new COVID crackdown.
Police helicopters have also been seen in the area blaring warnings.
One video reposted by Australian journalist Avi Yemini shows a man saying “what the f–k” before showing helicopters flying overhead warning the public.
The Daily Mail reported that in Sydney’s western suburbs residents saw police helicopters hovering overhead while sounding sirens and broadcasting the message, “This is public health order —do not break rules —you will be found and fines issued.”
American Military News (AMN) explained that:
The lockdown rules include a mask mandate, even for some outdoor places. People may leave their homes to get groceries and medicine or to go to hospitals. Only one person per household is permitted to leave their home per day to get groceries. People are allowed to go to school or work only if they cannot work and study from home. People may go outdoors to exercise but are not allowed to travel more than 10k from their homes (about 6 miles).
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said the new troop deployment was necessary due to a small minority of people who thought “the rules didn’t apply to them.”
Meanwhile, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the troops would accompany police officers while knocking on 2,000 doors, but “They don’t come with [arrest] powers and they won’t be carrying firearms…” he noted.
However, this military move has prompted swift condemnation and concern. The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), a civil rights group, said, “The government must urgently explain the nature of the request to the defence force and outline what defence force personnel will be doing to help manage the response to the virus.
“Using the military to enforce local laws sets a dangerous precedent,” the ALA added. “Using the defence force to ensure compliance by Australians or to deter civil disobedience is a concerning use of our armed forces.” ADN