FOUR people have been arrested and more than 20 others face hefty fines as police work to track down a group of "selfish" COVID-19 lockdown protesters.
Tamworth officer-in-charge Chief Inspector Jeff Budd told the Leader police were using body worn video and CCTV footage to identify about 25 people who attended a rally on Peel Street on Tuesday morning.
"This is about the entire area of regional NSW who are at risk of having this disease get to us ... we have positive tests in the sewage and the source of that is unknown," he said.
"At the end of the day, it's quite selfish."
Police were aware of the widely-advertised 'Shut Down Australia' rally and spoke to a group outside Tamworth Regional Council about 10:30am.
"One of the things Australia is proud of, is that you can protest and voice your opinion," Chief Inspector Budd said.
"They weren't there for a reasonable purpose and they were in breach of the public health orders."
He said some members of the small crowd were not wearing masks and police ordered everyone to move on.
When four people failed to produce identification to police, they were arrested and taken to Tamworth Police Station, he said.
Three were released with $3000 penalty infringement notices while a fourth man was released with a fine as well as bail conditions after allegedly hindering police, Chief Inspector Budd said.
He described the rally as peaceful overall and said attendees "certainly voiced their opinions" about the way COVID-19 was being handled and the current state-wide lockdown.
Every person identified will be receiving a $3000 penalty infringement notice.- Chief Inspector Jeff Budd
He told the Leader that police investigating the event had identified as many people as possible who were involved, and were homing in on others.
"Every person identified will be receiving a $3000 penalty infringement notice," he said.
Local police have urged any member of the public who knows those who "put Tamworth at risk" by attending the rally to contact the station and make a report.
Rallies were held across Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday, with a poster calling on protesters to make their voice heard against the "government narrative" as well as calling to end lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations.
The 'Shut Down Australia' events were held on a day when the state recorded 1164 cases of COVID-19.
Tamworth has remained free of confirmed coronavirus cases for more than a year, despite two positive sewage detections last week raising the alarm.
Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray slammed the Tamworth protest as poor behaviour and praised local police for acting swiftly and appropriately.
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