Sam Newman has received a visit from Victoria Police following his extraordinary call to Melburnians to take to the streets in protest of the city's stage four lockdown.
The polarising 300-game AFL champion and former Footy Show host sparked controversy on Sunday night when he called on 250,000 Victorians to gather in the CBD in 'hopefully a state day of coordination'.
The tweet landed Newman in hot water with Victoria Police, who threatened to arrest him for 'inciting a mass protest' against the measures introduced by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Newman was back on Twitter on Wednesday night to confirm he got a knock on the door and was spoken to by police at his Melbourne home.
'Efficient and personable x 2. Dan sent them in the van, to advise against 'protesting', which I assured them wasn't happening, and was never going to. Really. #victorialockdown,' he captioned the photo of the two officers in the lobby of his building.
These Victoria Police officers paid Sam Newman at his Melbourne home on Wednesday
Newman later posted the 'very pleasant' officers 'left a sheet with the official guidelines'.
His visit from the police sparked a divided reaction online.
'They’re intimidating people who are exercising their constitutional freedom to engage in political communication. It is absolutely abhorrent,' one woman added.
Newman had earlier backtracked on his original tweet, clarifying he was not encouraging people to protest.
He originally tweeted on Sunday night: 'Of all the protests that we have put up with, how about a quarter million of us gather in the CBD to take the City/State back, before EVERY previous march will have been pointless.
Newman set the record straight on Tuesday.
'I didn't encourage a quarter of a million people to march through the street,' he told Sunrise.
'I said wouldn't it be great to have 250,000 people wandering through the city - I don't encourage people to do that but it was just a sign that this government should cautiously reopen business enterprises in the city before it rusts over.'
Sam Newman (pictured) said he was advised by police against protesting. 'I assured them wasn’t happening, and was never going to,' he tweeted on Wednesday night
He reiterated calls for the Victorian government to reopen Melbourne as the city enters its fifth week of strict lockdown, which could be extended beyond September 13.
Victoria recorded 90 coronavirus cases and six deaths on Wednesday.
'Everyone's business is essential to someone. How about, instead of announcing the covert figures every other minute of what is happening, someone comes out and says that it would a good idea if we got act to reopening, rebooting the city,' Newman said.
'It is nonsense to think we have to close down the whole of the central business district because we cannot be asked or cannot be given free chance to cautiously reopen enterprise here in Melbourne.'
Sam Newman (right) backtracked on Sunday night's tweet when he was grilled by Sunrise host David Koch (left) on Tuesday morning
Newman fired up after he was grilled by Sunrise host David Koch, who tried to defend the lockdown measures.
'It is alright for you Kochie, you are lolling about up in the beach up there telling us what we should or should not do. But we're down here locked up in what is virtually a prison,' he hit back.
'I said wouldn't it be great to think that people would be that annoyed about what is going on in this city, looking it down completely without cautiously reopening it.
'I am not asking people to come from all over Victoria to protest. I'm not trying to get the police involved in this.'
'If they want to arrest me and put me in jail for this, that is fine. But I am not suggesting it. I never did in the first place.'
Newman later addressed his tweet on his weekly You Cannot Be Serious podcast, where he came under fire from co-hosts who labelled him 'irresponsible'.
Sam Newman has called on the Victorian government to reopen and reboot Melbourne as the city enters is fifth week of stage four lockdown. Pictured is a jogger on his daily run on Tuesday
'All I was trying to do was get enough people to get attention … I'm not advocating for people to come from all over Victoria to march up the city,' Newman explained on the podcast.
'I'm not advocating a rally as such. I just said wouldn't it be great that 250,000 people would march in the city. That is hyperbole, that is designed to get the attention of the government cautiously reopening business.
'I couldn't give a stuff if they open the city or not because I don't have a business but people are actually about to lose their livelihoods through the inaction and the tringent requirements that this government is putting on people.
'All they do is tell you how many people have died and how many have contracted this virus. There's got to be other things they can speak about.'
Newman fired off his extraordinary tweet after anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in a dramatic stand-off in Broadmeadows in the city's north on Sunday night.
AFL champion and former Footy Show host Sam Newman is known for his polarising views and Victoria Police has now threatened to arrest him for inciting protesters to gather in their hundreds of thousands to protest against Melbourne's Stage Four restrictions
A Victoria Police spokesman said the force had its sights set on those they claim are 'coordinating and encouraging protest activity' on Saturday.
MMA Fighter Vik Grujic responded to Newman's tweet by urging him to attend the Freedom Day mass gathering planned for that day in Melbourne's CBD - to which the footy great replied 'OK'.
'Victoria Police expects to make further arrests over coming days in respect to individuals suspected of inciting illegal activity,' a spokesman said.
'Organising and participating in this protest would be a serious and blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions and jeopardises the health of the entire community.
'Those still thinking of attending the CBD to protest can expect a swift and firm response from police.'
The state's police force added its officers would not hesitate in issuing $1,652 fines or making arrests if breaches of Victoria's public health orders