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Police blockade gym where Melbourne's anti-maskers planned to hold a conspiracy meeting

A woman was dramatically arrested at a police roadblock outside a gym where a group of coronavirus conspiracy theorists have been meeting.

Police smashed the woman’s window and dragged her out of the car after she refused to speak to officers in Melbourne about 6.30pm on Saturday.

‘Excuse me, this is unlawful,’ she said as she was loaded into a paddy wagon, to which a policeman responded ‘no, it’s not’.

The police officer was praised after footage of his blunt response to the woman as she was arrested was shared online. 

A woman was dramatically arrested at a police roadblock outside a gym where a group of coronavirus conspiracy theorists have been meeting

A woman was dramatically arrested at a police roadblock outside a gym where a group of coronavirus conspiracy theorists have been meeting

The roadblock was set up near Combat Athlete gym in Cranbourne, where a meeting of at least 50 covid-19 deniers was held a week earlier.

Whether the woman was headed to the gym or involved with the group is unclear, but police said she refused to give her details or drivers licence. 

The group always refuse to cooperate at traffic stops as they don’t recognise police authority, and even have a script they read from when arguing with officers.

Victorian Police said the woman was charged on summons with hindering police, refusing to state her name and address and refusing an alcohol and drug test.

She was also fined for breaching lockdown in that she was travelling outside her home without a valid reason, and released.  

The roadblock was set up near Combat Athlete gym in Cranbourne, where a meeting of at least 50 covid-19 deniers was held a week earlier (pictured)

The roadblock was set up near Combat Athlete gym in Cranbourne, where a meeting of at least 50 covid-19 deniers was held a week earlier (pictured) 

The meeting was organised by Nick Patterson, a former MMA fighter who owns the gym and hosted the previous meeting a week before. 

Mr Patterson in a blog post in the early hours of Sunday morning claimed Saturday’s meeting of 40 anti-maskers was online and police wasted their time.

‘After just finishing an online meeting, we were made aware that the police and media had set a trap in order to show the public what happens when you dare to speak out,’ he wrote.

‘However, earlier in the week we had decided to move the meeting online due to the ever-increasing violence and extreme measures that the government and police have been putting in place.’

Mr Patterson claimed his members were unaware of the roadblock until neighbours told him 15 police cars were on the road, and he reviewed his security camera film.

He also posted a short dashcam video of himself arriving in the street and making a turn as soon as he saw the roadblock ahead.

He did not say whether the woman arrested was part of the group, but called her an ‘unfortunate victim’.

Former MMA fighter Nick Patterson (pictured  is one of the group's ringleaders. His website John 8 acts as a resource for anti-mask conspiracy theorists

Former MMA fighter Nick Patterson (pictured  is one of the group’s ringleaders. His website John 8 acts as a resource for anti-mask conspiracy theorists

The group always refuse to cooperate at traffic stops as they don't recognise police authority

The group always refuse to cooperate at traffic stops as they don’t recognise police authority

‘This poor lady had her window smashed, was pulled from her car and was taken to the paddy wagon,’ he wrote.

Mr Patterson’s claims that the meeting was held online were supported by no large group of people showing up to the venue. 

A photo from the previous meeting at 6pm last Saturday showed a tight circle of followers with Mr Patterson in the middle – even as gatherings of more than two were banned. 

‘A great night together discussing the putrid conduct of the police, government and media lies. We are strong and won’t bow down to these oppressors,’ he wrote. 

He also praised Eve Black, who was widely condemned for refusing to provide her details to officers as she left a coronavirus hotspot. 

‘Thank you for sharing your experience with us and how media created a work of fiction with their slanderous narrative to demonise you, a true libertarian. God bless the righteous and give them power to prevail,’ he said.

Black replied: ‘Thank you for having me there. It was so amazing to be in a room full of people who support and celebrate me during this tough time.’

Black was on Wednesday arrested in similar fashion to the woman in Cranbourne, with her window smashed in after she refused to cooperate with police.

She was charged with failing to hand over her driver’s licence, not giving her name and address, breaching coronavirus public health orders, and traffic offences.

Mr Patterson’s website John 8 acts as a resource for anti-mask conspiracy theorists, including the script they read out to police, and the dubious legal argument behind it.

‘I want to help people learn the Truth so they can become strong, not just with knowledge, but with the mindset of a warrior,’ it reads

He also posts numerous videos on Facebook airing his views, including one where he went to a supermarket without a mask in the hope of provoking reactions.

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