A controversy has sparked across Australia after a 28-year-old woman named Zoe Buhler was handcuffed by the police in front of her children and taken away for allegedly inciting activists to protest against the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Dressed in her pyjamas, Ms Zoe, a resident of Ballarat in Victoria, was arrested in front of her two children, aged 3 and 4, with her partner making attempts to help her while livestreaming the incident, which has since been viewed millions of times. 

Zoe has been charged with using social media to incite others to break the restrictions in effect by attending weekend rallies. "The police could have given me a phone call and said: 'Look, you need to take down your event or you could be charged with a crime,' and I would have done that," she told reporters. "It could have been as simple as that. You know, I’m not someone that would you know ever commit a crime or anything like that," she added.

Currently, Victoria and Melbourne are major COVID-19 hotspots in Australia as both cities have been under lockdown since early August. Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius described the police’s decision to handcuff Buhler as "entirely reasonable." Cornelius stated, "The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant are terrible." Furthermore, the police also arrested three men under the charges of inciting others to break the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by planning protests in Melbourne on Saturday. 

Zoe's Facebook post read as follows: "As some of you may have seen the govt has gone to extreme measures & are using scare tactics through the media to prevent the Melbourne protest...End lockdowns. Stand for human rights. We live in a *free* country." The incident has not gone down well with those in Australia, who have questioned the manner in which the arrest was carried out. Watch the video below: