By Danielle Kutchel
Police have dispersed a crowd of around 50 people who attended a Narre Warren church gathering that breached lockdown guidelines.
Revival Christian Church attempted to hold a service on Sunday 30 May in defiance of the Chief Health Officer’s lockdown rules, after its pastor, Paul Furlong, posted a video to Facebook encouraging the meeting.
Police had closed roads around the church’s Victor Crescent address in the lead up to the service, however attendees instead moved to Max Pawsey Reserve.
Police, including Public Order Response teams, quickly surrounded the gathering.
Attendees yelled abuse at police, calling them “paedophile protectors” and “terrorists”, while adding they were “doing this for you”.
Churchgoers – most of whom did not wear a mask – spent much of the service railing against the lockdown and repeating conspiracy theories about the lockdown being unconstitutional.
Speaking to Star News after the event, attendees again questioned whether the lockdown was constitutional, and made allegations that doctors promoting vaccines as safe are being paid by the World Health Organisation and the mafia.
But they insisted it was a church gathering, not a protest.
“It was people who wanted to pray to God around people. That’s all. It was not a protest. But the police bombarded,” one woman said.
Two people were arrested in short scuffles but the crowd dispersed after a scripture reading, followed closely by police.
It’s believed many of those who attended are not actually part of the church, but instead had come together over a common interest in defying the lockdown.
The church had previously held a service during the February lockdown.
Pr Furlong, who leads Revival Christian Church Narre Warren and has said he believes Covid is a front for the establishment of a ‘New World Order’ – a conspiracy theory that has existed for generations and been soundly dismissed – was fined at the time.
Prior to Sunday’s gathering a man – believed to be Pr Furlong – was arrested for alleged incitement and breaching bail.
A 53-year-old Tyabb man is currently in custody and continues to assist police with their enquiries.
Police confirmed they issued five infringement notices on Sunday for breaching of the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
A number of other offences were detected while police were at the scene including an unlicensed driver, a driver who returned a positive drug indication test and a person wanted on warrant.
Investigations into further alleged breaches of CHO directions are ongoing.
“Those who choose to blatantly disregard the CHOs directions and put the health and safety of all Victorians in jeopardy can expect to be held accountable and fined,” Victoria Police said in a statement.