Australian couple suffer death threats and anti-Semitic abuse after breaking lockdown for engagement party

An Australian couple have been pummeled with online abuse after they breached lockdown rules to celebrate their engagement.

The party, held in the Caulfield North suburb of Melbourne, was reportedly attended by 69 people, despite the city being on shutdown owing to a fresh Covid surge.

Footage shared online showed dozens of guests packed inside the husband and wife-to-be’s home, in blatant breach of the region’s coronavirus restrictions which bans all indoor gatherings.

A video taken at the party showed the groom joking with his guests: ‘Clearly this is legal because it’s a group-therapy session’ Twitter

Six cases of the virus have reportedly since been linked to the illegal get-together, which took place last Wednesday, with authorities concerned it could become a superspreader event.

The pair have apologised for hosting the festivities – which they admit were wrong – but have also begged for an end to the torrent of harassment they’ve been subjected to.

On Monday, the mother of the groom responded to the backlash by pleading for understanding. "We did wrong but the hate coming our way is just so mean,” she said in a statement to The Herald Sun. “Look into your heart and try to find forgiveness.”

The couple said they have been sent death threats among other abusive comments, which include anti-Semitic insults.

Indeed, the Royal Melbourne Hospital confirmed it had fired one of its employees after they posted an anti-Jewish comment about the partygoers on Facebook.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the "appalling commentary" towards the Jewish community after news broke of the lockdown flouters’ actions.

He stressed that their behaviour was not a reflection of the Jewish community as a whole, emphasising: "Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and evil.”

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer also said he was "horrified" to see anti-Semitic hatred spilling out online.

"It’s profoundly wrong," Professor Brett Sutton, adding that it was also “destructive to the public health response."

The leaders’ condemnation of the harassment does not, however, detract from their anger at the event.

"What makes me really angry about it is that there are 69 people at that event and, no matter what you are told or what you read, the facts are these: There has been transmission at that event. There has been transmission at that event," Andrews told a press conference.

"Above all, the thing that makes me angriest is that that event, that sort of conduct and some of the behaviour we’ve seen over the weekend is it takes away and it devalues the amazing work that millions and millions of Victorians are doing.

"These are s****y choices."

He continued: "Our contact tracers who are working their guts out for all of us will have to spend literally thousands of hours dealing with hundreds and thousands of people connected to that engagement party."

Meanwhile, the city’s Chief Police Commissioner said he expected every partygoer, excluding children, to be handed a $5,000 (£2,640) fine, 9newsreports.

"There has to be consequences, so many people are doing the right thing and deferring their events," Shane Patton said.

"That is why we are enforcing on this one. I did the maths, if you take off a few for each child, it will be over $350,000 (£184,800) of fines."

"That’s an expensive engagement party."

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