NSW Police have posted a photograph to social media which appears to show a protester at Saturday’s freedom rally punching a police horse in the face.
The image was posted to the force’s official Facebook page with the caption: “We are working on getting an update on the horse’s condition.”
“Good news!” a later update read. “Troop horse Tobruk was not injured and is recovering back at the stables after a hard day’s work.”
A follow-up post from the Mounted Unit said: “Our beautiful brave Tobruk safe and uninjured after his awful encounter today. Thank you again everyone for your words of support.”
Within minutes the image went viral, with numerous high-profile figures and influencers sharing the photo across social media, as users dubbed the man pictured “the most hated man in Australia.”
While the picture looks awful indeed, users on social media have said video of the incident reveals another story.
“He did not punch the horse,” one user said. “It’s fake news. He pushed it away as it was about to trample him.”
“No punch to the horse at all,” another said. “Fake news.”
“The man put his arm up in defence,” said another. “It’s not a straight jab or punch as the media and Police have made it out to be. Fake news.”
Here’s the photo and the video. You be the judge.
That bloke in the yellow shirt didn’t even punch the horse… Police appear to be aggressors pic.twitter.com/jJHKnzmL5t— 🇦🇺We Are Maximus🇺🇸 (@meridius1776) July 24, 2021