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Lebanese Muslim group fears western Sydney residents will stop obeying lockdown rules

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A Muslim group fears residents of western Sydney will stop obeying lockdown rules as they see people enjoy the beach in wealthy suburbs.

The Lebanese Muslim Association, based at Lakemba, suggested Sunday scenes of sunbakers at Bondi could be enough to undermine compliance with the restrictions in locked down areas.

‘Are we really expecting people to continue to co-operate and willingly accept the disparity in treatment?’

While helicopters hovered over Bondi and Coogee on Sunday, areas of the Canterbury-Bankstown council have had a heavier police presence since the Delta outbreak spread through south-west Sydney in June.

A Muslim group fears residents of western Sydney will stop obeying lockdown rules as they see people enjoy the beach in wealthy suburbs. The Lebanese Muslim Association, based at Lakemba, suggested Sunday scenes of sunbakers at Bondi (pictured on Sunday) could be enough to undermine compliance with the restrictions in locked down areas

A Muslim group fears residents of western Sydney will stop obeying lockdown rules as they see people enjoy the beach in wealthy suburbs. The Lebanese Muslim Association, based at Lakemba, suggested Sunday scenes of sunbakers at Bondi (pictured on Sunday) could be enough to undermine compliance with the restrictions in locked down areas

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who holds a Northern Beaches electorate, even defended beachgoers with infectious diseases experts backing him up.

‘The fresh air, we know, is the safest place to be at the present time,’ Mr Hazzard said.

This was enough to anger the Lebanese Muslim Association.

‘The empty rhetoric of togetherness was evident last weekend while clear non-compliance in Bondi and the beaches across Sydney were met with respectful conversations, non-compliance in Bankstown was treated with heavy-handed policing and paramedics,’ the group said in a statement.

‘The different responses fuel long-term divisions across Sydney and continue to intensify heightened sensitivities around the over-securitisation and harsh policing of our diverse communities.’

The eastern suburbs of Sydney, where the Delta outbreak began in June, has lower case numbers than western and south-west Sydney, where there is a 9pm to 5am curfew.  

Waverley council, covering Bondi, has 45 active cases of Covid, compared with 2,812 cases in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area covering Lakemba and Belmore.

The Lebanese Muslim Association, based at Lakemba, suggested Sunday scenes of sunbakers at Bondi could be enough to undermine compliance with the restrictions in locked down areas (pictured are protesters in Bankstown surrounded by police on July 18, 2021)

 The Lebanese Muslim Association, based at Lakemba, suggested Sunday scenes of sunbakers at Bondi could be enough to undermine compliance with the restrictions in locked down areas (pictured are protesters in Bankstown surrounded by police on July 18, 2021)

Nonetheless, police were still out in force in Bondi on Sunday cautioning sunbakers who weren’t socially distancing or wearing a face mask. 

Randwick council, which takes in Coogee, has 292 active cases, a level still much lower than the 1,361 level of the Liverpool LGA in south-west Sydney.

WS-FM presenter Amanda Keller, who lives at Coogee, said the sunbakers in her area were inflaming people stuck in lockdown on the other side of Sydney.

‘That’s an insensitive response. It’s a little insensitive to people who don’t have the option to do that,’ she said.

Police were still out in force in Bondi  (pictured) cautioning sunbakers who weren't socially distancing or wearing a face mask

Police were still out in force in Bondi  (pictured) cautioning sunbakers who weren’t socially distancing or wearing a face mask

Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr agreed scenes of people enjoying the beach within their local government area was rubbing it in to western Sydney.

‘You’ve got millions of people across the west of Sydney saying, “I can’t go to the beach, we’ve been restricted to an hour or two outside, why can’t we go outside if it’s safe?”.’

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declined to allow swimming pools to open as Sydney’s lockdown approaches its 12th week. 

On Tuesday, the state reported 1,127 new cases, a big drop from 1,257 a day earlier.  

Waverley council, covering Bondi (pictured), has 45 active cases of Covid, compared with 2,812 cases in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area covering Lakemba and Belmore

Waverley council, covering Bondi (pictured), has 45 active cases of Covid, compared with 2,812 cases in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area covering Lakemba and Belmore

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who holds a Northern Beaches electorate, even defended beachgoers. This was enough to anger the Lebanese Muslim Association.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who holds a Northern Beaches electorate, even defended beachgoers. This was enough to anger the Lebanese Muslim Association.



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