Days after a pregnant mother was arrested for “inciting” an anti-lockdown protest, Melbourne police came after a self-described “freedom fighter” who runs a Covid-19 conspiracy network. The dramatic arrest was caught on film.
James Bartolo, a former soldier, bodybuilder and a man who – in his own words – fights against the “corrupt and failed system” during the Covid-19 lockdown, livestreamed a video of himself arguing with police on his doorstep early in the morning.
The law enforcers, among them armed uniformed officers, demanded that he open the door and let them serve a search warrant for allegedly inciting an anti-lockdown protest planned for this Saturday in Melbourne. Bartolo countered by saying that he “told people not to go” on his Facebook page, but the team pushed forward and threatened to enter by force.
“You are illegally trespassing and you will be charged. If you break anything you will be prosecuted,” the man shouts from a balcony, but the lead detective seemed to be in no mood to hear the legal argumentation.
“Open the door or I’ll force it, I’m not playing a game,” he could be heard saying, just as his colleague readied a hammer to smash the door open.
This morning in Melbourne..
— Keira Savage (@KeiraSavage00) September 4, 2020
As the banging at the door got louder, Bartolo run downstairs, yelling: “Hey, stop breaking my s**t!” Moments after, police made entry and tackled the man onto the ground to handcuff him.
The officers then searched Bartolo’s house, seizing a mobile phone and laptops, along with five samurai swords. He was charged with “incitement, possession of prohibited weapons and two counts of resisting police,” Victoria police revealed to the media.
The dramatic arrest, however, seems to have had little effect on Bartolo, who runs a Facebook group called ‘Conscious Truth Network.’ Hours after the standoff, he appeared live on his page, telling followers that he was “all good”and in “good spirits.” In the meantime, he cautioned the audience against attending the Saturday protest as it will be “a trap.”
Bartolo has been actively promoting the planned anti-lockdown protest at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance in recent days, but his latest video suggested the venue will be so crowded with police that no one will be able to get in.
He gained notoriety over the past months due to questioning the scale of the epidemic – which infected over 26,000 and killed close to 680 people in Australia – the efficacy of masks and the legality of lockdowns imposed. ‘Conscious Truth Network’ entries reveal that:
- Bartolo believes the US Moon landing was faked, vaccines are harmful and the quarantine is used by elites and corporations to put further strains on people.
- He describes himself as a “truth seeker” and “freedom fighter” who is there to “serve justice to the corrupt, twisted and sick individuals, corporations and entities.”
Bartolo’s arrest comes shortly after Zoe-Lee Buhler, an expecting mother in Ballarat, Victoria, was also handcuffed and charged with “incitement” of an illegal anti-lockdown event online. The video of her arrest, which she later described as a “kidnapping” by plainclothes men, went viral earlier this week.