Thousands of Sydneysiders have vowed to protest following the ‘brutal’ arrest of popular local personality Danny Lim.
The 74-year-old, best known for is often-politically focused sandwich boards was arrested for offensive behaviour at Barangaroo in the city centre on Friday.
Video of the arrest shows Mr Lim holding a sandwich board sign that reads: ‘SMILE CVN’T! WHY CVN’T?’
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Thousands of Sydneysiders have vowed to protest following the ‘brutal’ arrest of popular local personality Danny Lim (pictured)
The 74-year-old, best known for is often-politically focused sandwich boards was arrested for offensive behaviour at Barangaroo in the city centre on Friday
Onlookers said Mr Lim was confronted by police over a controversial sign with many claiming officers were ‘rough’ and ‘aggressive’.
Now, supporters have banded together and planned a protest on Sunday in response to the much-loved activist’s ‘brutal’ arrest.
The event’s organiser wrote its intent was ‘to stand up to bullying by police’.
More than 2,000 people are planning to attend the event so far with another 8,000 saying they are interested.
Niki Anstiss, who filmed the encounter, labelled Friday’s arrest ‘disgusting’ and is among multiple witnesses to lodge formal complaints over the officers’ conduct.
However she also added police were pointing and shouting at Mr Lim before one ‘ripped the sign off his back’ and the other two forced him into handcuffs.
Thousands of supporters have banded together and planned a protest on Sunday in response to the much-loved activist’s ‘brutal’ arrest
‘My issue is with the brutality of moving him on with such force,’ she told AAP.
‘He was screaming and crying ‘don’t take my sign’.’
As two officers led Mr Lim in cuffs to a police van, Ms Anstiss saw a third officer take the lead of the activist’s small dog Smarty and follow ‘faster than the dog could walk’.
‘It took a woman telling the cop ‘You need to pick the dog up’ for them to stop dragging it.’
Christina Halm said up to 30 people stopped in their tracks and were ‘all shocked, gasping and crying at what we were seeing’.
‘I saw police officers use a completely unnecessary and unacceptable amount of force to arrest Danny for wearing a humorous sign,’ she posted on Facebook.
A spokesman for NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia on Friday: ‘Officers spoke to a 74-year-old man and gave him a move-on direction’.
‘The man repeatedly refused to comply with the move-on direction and became aggressive towards police.
Sydney icon Danny Lim was confronted by police in Barrangaroo on Friday after a complaint was made about the language on his sign
‘The man was then detained and issued a Criminal Infringement Notice for offensive behaviour and released a short time later.’
Footage taken of the altercation from a nearby office shows two officers push Mr Lim away from the area, as his screams of ‘no’ echo through the new development.
A third stops and appears to be getting Mr Lim’s pet dog, Smarty.
Smarty, Mr Lim, and his colourful signs are widely known throughout the Sydney CBD, where man and dog can be seen travelling between suburbs with their often politicised sandwich boards.
Mr Lim gained notoriety after he took a $500 fine for offensive behaviour – issued for a sign calling then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott a c*** with an upside down v – to court, and walked away a free man.
His appeal was initially denied, but finally granted by Judge Andrew Scotting in August 2017, who found ‘c***’ had been used by Shakespeare, and was less offensive in Australia than many English-speaking countries.
Members of the public were astonished when the police arrived, with their reportedly rough actions causing Mr Lim to scream: ‘please, help’
He was found to have been exercising his right to freedom of speech, and the infringement notice was quashed.
Witnesses were distraught at the way Mr Lim was treated on Friday, with many questioning the aggressive movements of the officers involved.
One woman, who asked not to be named, said she was sitting at a cafe nearby when the commotion began.
She told Daily Mail Australia Mr Lim had been ‘sitting there chilling’, when she first saw him, but was clearly in distress when she next turned around to find out what all the noise was about.
Mr Lim was cleared of a similar notice in 2017, after holding a sign telling then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ‘smile c***’. A magistrate found the word was not as offensive in Australia as it was in other English-speaking countries
‘We turned around and saw him with three officers, all holding him,’ she said.
‘It was really distressing to see – he was yelling out and screaming… honestly I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the force they were using didn’t seem necessary at all.’
The woman said Barrangaroo security guards were aware of Mr Lim’s presence, but police arrived after a single complaint was made.
‘It’s ridiculous,’ she said. ‘There’s actually real crime just streets away.’
Security hired in Barrangaroo were reportedly aware of Mr Lim’s presence and not concerned about it