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Anti-mask protester says ‘nobody has died from coronavirus’

An anti-mask protester has been charged over separate incidents allegedly encouraging people to go against public health mandates.

Yesterday, police charged alleged COVID conspiracy theorist Joe Mekhael over two organised incidents in Western Sydney earlier this month.

Police allege the Merrylands man held two protests at Parramatta Westfield on January 13 and 27, encouraging people not to wear masks while mandates were still in effect.

In footage, the 36-year-old can allegedly be heard chanting “The coronavirus is a complete fraud” and “I would rather be human than a slave”.

According to global figures, an estimated 2.2 million people have died from the virus — but when asked by 9News whether he thought he was risking public safety with his protests, Mr Mekhael said “Nobody has died from coronavirus”.

This is not the first time Mr Mekhael has faced charges for public disturbances, also being arrested for disrupting the city’s Anzac Day Dawn Service in 2017.

He is now facing two charges of breaching a public health order and while granted bail, Mr Mekhael says he still plans to continue protests despite being banned from Parramatta Westfield.

Even though restrictions have eased, Mr Mekhael says he can’t be stopped from taking his message to the world and plans to take his protest to central gardens in Merrylands instead.

With restrictions easing as of 12.01 this morning, Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned measures to protect public health could be re-introduced at any time — telling anti-mask protesters to look at the facts.

“You’re entitled to your opinion but please don’t endanger the safety of others,” she said.