A pregnant mum arrested in her pyjamas in her own home for organising an anti-lockdown rally has broken her silence on social media to demand an apology from the Victorian premier.
Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, made headlines last week after extraordinary footage of her being handcuffed by police in front of her children in her lounge room in Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne, went viral.
She was charged with incitement after she created a Facebook protest event against the draconian lockdown in Victoria.
Following a temporary ban on social media, Ms Buhler resurfaced earlier this week with a scathing message for Premier Daniel Andrews.
Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, is back on social media after footage of her arrest last week went viral
‘I want a personal apology from you. You are dooming us all Dan Andrews. Go to hell where you belong. #sackdanandrews,’ she posted on Facebook on Sunday.
She also uploaded a live-streamed video to update everyone on how she was going.
‘Hello everyone, so you’re all well aware what myself and my family have been going through,’ she said.
‘I haven’t been able to go on social media until today. So I just wanted to jump on and say thank you to everyone for all the support.’
While several hundred protesters gathered in Melbourne on Saturday for a Freedom Day rally, an emotional Ms Buhler revealed she spent the day writing a short poem titled ‘Remember, Remember’ about Premier Andrews and his lockdown, which she read out.
‘How can we call this living when they feel like dying?’,’ the poem starts.
‘We’re hardly surviving when we should be thriving.’
Zoe Buhler, 28, was handcuffed in her lounge room in front of her children last week and was later charged with incitement
The poem accuses the Premier of sitting on his high horse and wondering if he has any remorse over the lockdown that has destroyed thousands of livelihoods in Victoria.
The poem ends calling on the Premier to free Victorians from lockdown, which he has since been extended by two weeks until at least September 28.
Ms Buhler has since reiterated her calls for an apology from the Premier.
‘So sick of living in fear!’ she wrote on Monday.
Today it’s windy where I am and it sounded like there was a banging at the door. I woke up thinking this is it they’re coming to get me, all over me being awake and knowing the truth and for that for simply having knowledge I feel as if my life could end at any moment.
‘Wake up people we can’t keep living this way￼!
‘I want an apology from Dan Andrews. I thought he cared about keeping people safe? I don’t feel safe in Victoria.’
Ms Buhler has been targeted by cruel online trolls in recent days and briefly let them get the better of her on Tuesday night.
‘Maybe if I kill myself all of you trolls (bullies) will be happier!’ she posted.
She later assured everyone she was fine.
The Ballarat mum is demanding an apology from Premier Daniel Andrews (post pictured)
Zoe Lee Buhler (pictured on Sunday) has also written a poem about Victoria’s lockdown
‘Sorry to all the beautiful souls reaching out, I won’t kill myself. I will stay strong for myself, the baby, my children and all of humanity,’ she later wrote.
‘I know everything happens for a reason and I know my arrest is serving great purpose. It’s just also very hard at times, especially with the online bullies, media bullies.
‘So much love to you all. I’ll stay strong!
Ms Buhler’s brother created a GoFundMe page to raise money for her legal fees and fine after she was charged last week.
‘All money raised will go straight to Help Zoe Lee pay her legal fees! Thank you!’ the page reads.
‘All money left after legal costs will be donated to suicide awareness. We will not be keeping a single cent of the money for ourselves.
‘Let’s get back our basic human rights.’
But the fundraiser was mysteriously taken down by its creator less than 24 hours after it was created.
The page had raised more than $8,600.
Last Thursday, Buhler said she feared she was being ‘kidnapped’ when she was arrested.
‘I was scared I was being kidnapped by people, they obviously weren’t in uniforms,’ she told media waiting outside her Miner’s Rest home.
‘I was just so scared, I was like oh my gosh if I disappear today I want it live on Facebook.
‘I’m only very early pregnancy so obviously you’re told not to stress out or strain.’
Buhler is about seven weeks pregnant – which she only discovered days ago – and was due to have her first ultrasound an hour after her arrest.
She said she was ‘still yet to know exactly what [incitement] means’ and planned to fight the charge, claiming it was an honest mistake.
‘I just wanted to feel like I was doing something to stand up for human rights,’ she said.
‘If someone steals a car, they know they are committing a crime. I didn’t, so I don’t feel like I should have to pay for that.’
Buhler, who claimed to have lost her job during the lockdown, said police eventually took her handcuffs off and let her get dressed before taking her to the station.
She claimed the officers said they weren’t happy about having to arrest her.
Buhler allegedly created this event for Saturday at 11am on Sturt Street in Ballarat
How can we call this living when they feel like dying?
We’re hardly surviving when we should be thriving.
Our ancestors are sick of crying, sick of seeing you lying.
Lifetimes and lifetimes spent wondering where all the effort went
Messages from far and wide are sent wondering when you will repent
While you sit on your high horse, I wonder where is the remorse
We’re living in a time I cannot endorse
A time where crime is enforced
Enforced by those who want to protect us
Those we have been taught to trust
And I know you’re afraid wondering what they will say
But we can’t keep living this way
And I won’t give up until my dying day
So say what you may, so well please
Because this is me begging on my knees
It’s time to let us be free
Source: Zoe Lee Buhler
Ms Buhler later told radio station 3AW that she felt the police ‘barging in’ to her home and arresting her was ‘extreme’ and a phone call would have sufficed.
‘I had a bit of a bimbo moment and I actually didn’t realise that it wasn’t okay. I thought so long as we social distanced and wore masks it was okay,’ she said.
‘I was aware that the protest coming up in Melbourne wasn’t permitted, but I thought, in Ballarat, we’re in Stage Three lockdown.
‘I’m not a criminal person… If the police had just called me and told me to remove the post I would’ve done so.
‘I understand police were doing their job and they were very nice for me, but I wasn’t very happy with them barging into my house in front of my children.’
Zoe Buhler, 28, (pictured) said she feared she was being kidnapped during the arrest on Wednesday
Mother-of-two Buhler with her boyfriend James Timmins, who filmed her arrest
Buhler is not allowed on social media until Sunday as part of her bail terms, but hoped her arrest would raise opposition to the lockdown.
‘It’s pretty horrible circumstances but hopefully some good comes out of it,’ she said.
‘It might be a bit of an eye-opener about the human rights I’m trying to stand for and people realising just how out of control things are getting
‘So many people have been affected by the lockdown, people are losing their jobs, the economy has collapsed, rise in suicide and domestic violence. I wish we could see a happy medium.
‘I feel like Daniel Andrews is the one that should be feeling remorseful.’
Buhler’s social media pages are full of coronavirus conspiracy theories, but she insisted she believed the pandemic was real.
‘My heart goes out to anyone who’s died of covid, I know that people are getting sick, I don’t believe it’s a hoax or anything, I’m not a part of a cult,’ she said.
Three other protest organisers around Victoria have been charged with incitement in the past few weeks.
Buhler’s alleged offending post linked to a since-deleted ‘Freedom Day Ballarat’ event she created
Buhler is about seven weeks pregnant, only finding out days ago, and was due to have her first ultrasound an hour after her arrest
Buhler offered to delete the post but was told she had already committed an offence
Buhler’s social media pages are full of coronavirus conspiracy theories, but she insisted she believed the pandemic was real
The video, which has since made international headlines in US and UK media, shows the confused mother asking why she is being arrested.
‘Excuse me, incitement for what, what on Earth? I’m in my pyjamas, my two kids are here,’ she asked police.
‘I have an ultrasound in an hour because I’m pregnant.’
The increasingly distressed mother insisted she wasn’t breaking any laws by creating and then promoting the event.
‘Actually you are, that’s why we’re arresting you in relation to incitement,’ police replied.
Ms Buhler offered to delete the post as her boyfriend James Timmins tried to mediate while cradling their infant child in his arms.
‘How about she just doesn’t do the event? It’s not like she’s done it, she made a post,’ he said.
Police were unmoved, telling her: ‘You’ve already committed the offence.’
Buhler was distressed by this point and crying so much she could barely tell officers that she ‘didn’t realise’ she was ‘doing anything wrong’ in making the online event.
Ms Buhler was charged with incitement and released on bail to appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on January 25 next year.
WHAT MELBOURNE’S STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increased police powers to enforce the lockdown. Cautions will no longer be issued, only $1,652 fines or court summons
Curfew: No one allowed outside 8pm to 5am except for work, medical, caregiving – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 5km from home
Exercise: All recreational activity is banned and you can only exercise, with one other person, for one hour a day
Partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5km away
Shopping: Only one person can go shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants stay open for takeaway, as do supermarkets, etc
Schools: All students learning from home unless they are vulnerable or parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare closed
Funerals: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne to regional Victoria for one
Weddings: Completely banned
Public transport: Slashed after 8pm and cancelled late at night
Community sport: All community sport across Victoria is now banned. Only exercise is allowed within the permitted public gathering limits of two people.