PARTICIPANTS in the Sydney anti-lockdown protest at the weekend have been slammed by the region's MPs as "idiotic", ill-informed and senselessly putting the lives of others at risk.
Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said anyone who rallied at Saturday's 'freedom rally', and those who supported it anywhere else across the State, had been complicit in a "reckless indifference to human life".
Thousands of people joined the march between Sydney's Victoria Park and Town Hall.
A special strike force of detectives has been established to analyse footage from social media, CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify and punish those who defied stay-at-home orders.
As of today, 58 people have been charged and 135 infringement notices have been issued.
Smaller park gatherings were held at the weekend in a string of regional locations, including Port Macquarie, Taree and Newcastle.
Mr Conaghan was joined by Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, Member for Myall Lakes, Steve Bromhead, Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie and Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, in expressing their disgust over the protest.
Mr Conaghan said the actions of anyone involved in breaching COVID rules in Sydney and compromising the health and safety of others should "have the book thrown at them".
A former police officer, police prosecutor and solicitor, the Member for Cowper likened the protestors' actions to the intent under murder/manslaughter laws.
"Watching these protests in Sydney ... it raised a thought about the actions of those demanding their rights. It reminded me of the current murder/manslaughter laws in NSW," he said.
The law states that murder shall be taken to have been committed where the act of the accused, or thing by him or her omitted to be done, causing the death charged, was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life, or with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm upon some person, or done in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with him or her, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years.
Mr Conaghan said any grievous bodily disease, in which case a reference to the infliction of grievous bodily harm, includes a reference to "causing a person to contract a grievous bodily disease".
"So when, not if, one of these selfish simpletons returns home and infects a grandmother, or neighbour or unsuspecting member of the public with COVID-19 leaving them with life-long respiratory problems, or worse - dead, I sincerely hope that the Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW recommends that the protestor be charged with criminal negligence manslaughter," Mr Conaghan said.
"This would only seem to be the fair and just thing to do."
Manslaughter in NSW can result in a sentence of between 4-6 years.
"Seems fair enough for such reckless, self-indulgent behaviour," Mr Conaghan said.
"Thank you to all Sydneysiders and other residents in lockdown around Australia who are doing the right thing. To the protesters, I hope they throw the book at you."
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, threw her support behind the NSW Premier who said she was "utterly disgusted" by the actions of protestors.
"The actions of these people is just so selfish and quite frankly stupid," Mrs Williams said.
Member for Myall Lakes, Steve Bromhead, said the vision from Sydney was appalling.
"I condemn the idiots who went to the protest," Mr Bromhead said.
"I do not know what parallel universe they are from."
Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said the protest matched by increasing COVID positive numbers painted a "grim" picture.
"Like many, I was shocked, disappointed and angered about (Saturday's) protests," Mrs Pavey said.
"While Sydney's main street march grabbed the headlines, there were smaller isolated protests in the regions - though thankfully none were held in Oxley.
"The protesters did not achieve anything, but potentially prolong the pain for millions of law-abiding citizens if the city's lockdown is extended because of a super-spreading event.
"The most important action we can take together is; be COVID-19 safe and get vaccinated.
"I know there are vaccine supply constraints, but I urge everyone to to book in an appointment at the earliest timeframe possible."
Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, implored people to take the current health advice seriously.
"The protests achieve no purpose. It will not end the lockdown sooner, it will only risk the lockdowns running longer," Dr Gillespie said.
"Millions of Sydneysiders have stayed home, they're the ones who are bringing an end to the lockdown sooner, not those who are putting themselves and families at risk.
"No matter where you live, we should follow the health advice to suppress the virus and getting vaccinated."
There are currently no cases of COVID on the Mid North Coast.
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