A television journalist has gone viral for her awkward timing during a live broadcast of an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne.
Channel Seven reporter Cassie Zervos was reporting from the scene in Dandenong in the city’s south-eastern outskirts after hundreds gathered and clashed with police over the Stage 4 lockdown restrictions.
The network’s 6pm Melbourne news bulletin on Wednesday night began with a live cross to Ms Zervos, where the heavy police presence outnumbered a handful of demonstrators who remained at the scene.
Ms Vervos told viewers a male protester seen being restrained by officers in background had been arrested for antagonising and refusing to cooperate with police.
‘He will taken away and charges are expected,’ she added.
But as she spoke the man released and was seen walking off in the background.
Social media went into the meltdown over the awkward moment.
‘Haha don’t let the facts get in a way of a good story,’ one man commented.
Another added: ‘Looks like neighbours being filmed. Late cross to nothing.’
She also came under fire for describing the protesters as a ‘cult’ during the live cross.
‘An exaggeration of interpretation,’ one viewer tweeted.
Another added: Thank you for reminding me of why I don’t watch Channel Seven news.’
Four men were arrested at Wednesday afternoon’s protest, including a protester, 28, who allegedly assaulted a police officer.
He was also charged with resisting arrest, failing to state his name and address and breaching the chief health officer directions.
A 19-year-old Dandenong man was also charged with use threatening words, failing to state his name and address and breaching the chief health officer directions while a 22-year-old faces similar charges.
Nine protesters were fined $1652 each for breaching the Stage 4 lockdown restrictions.
Tensions in Dandenong have been flaring for days after a large group of residents decided to start walking at the same time and place.
Victoria Police chief Shane Patton vowed to deploy more resources to stopping the daily protests.
‘There are some who may be legitimately attempting to protest but there are others using the situation to get up to no good,’ he told 3AW.
‘Either way, they just can’t be there, they can’t do it.
‘I’ve instructed this morning … to do absolutely everything we can to stop it and hold them to account.’
Premier Daniel Andrews also slammed the protests.
‘Protests are not lawful, protests are not safe, protests are not something that should be happening – no matter what the purpose,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
‘I just don’t think that’s in anybody’s interests.’