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Worshippers Fined $5,000 Each For Attending Melbourne Synagogue Amid Lockdown

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Worshippers Fined $5,000 Each For Attending Melbourne Synagogue Amid Lockdown

Dozens of worshippers have defied the city-wide lockdown to celebrate Jewish New Year at a Melbourne synagogue.

Police descended on the place of worship in the city's inner southeast after reports emerged there were loads of people breaking the rules.

The Age reports the worshippers entered the Adass Israel Synagogue synagogue in Ripponlea about 5am on Tuesday (September 7) and didn't leave until well after the sun had set following a tense stand-off with a sea of police officers outside.

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They eventually came out of hiding and were questioned by the cops on why they were outside their homes.

The Daily Mail reports there were some worshippers accusing the police and media outside of anti-Semitism.

Millions of Melburnians have been forced to stay inside their properties unless for essential reasons due to the growing Covid-19 outbreak.

Credit: 9News
Credit: 9News
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Victoria Police said in a statement about the incident: "Victoria Police has spoken to a number of people who attended an address on Glen Eira Road, Elsternwick on Tuesday 7 September.

"All adults who attended will be issued with a $5,452 fine. A number of children who were present will not be fined.

"Investigators believe a number of other people were present and are yet to be spoken to by police. Investigators are working to identify them."

The total number of fines issued to the worshippers isn't clear.

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It follows another group of mostly maskless Jewish congregants meeting at a different synagogue on Monday (September 6) night to mark the big part of their religious calendar.

Witness Steve Davis explained to 9News that the group managed to get into place of worship through a different entrance to the main door, presumably to avoid detection.

Credit: 9News
Credit: 9News

"It would have been 20 to 30 and then another 20 to 30 coming and going as I was there waiting for the police to come," he said.

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"I just think think this behaviour from anyone in society at this time is just appalling, it's disgusting really because small businesses are already hurting, and this is just extending what's already happening."

A statement on the Jewish Community Council of Victoria's website encourages people within the community to heed the health advice designed to combat the pandemic.

In a video issued ahead of Jewish New Year, the Council said: "This Rosh Hashanah we need to stay home and celebrate only with the people we live with."

They also highlighted the how 'the health and security of our community is our paramount priority' and that they 'are especially mindful of those most vulnerable in our families, friendship groups and workplaces, and those most isolated'.

Featured Image Credit: 9News

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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