A coronavirus conspiracy leader has been dramatically arrested a day before anti-lockdown protests his group promoted were to hit Melbourne's streets.
James Bartolo, 27, was detained at his Melbourne home on Friday morning after four policemen knocked down his door when he refused to open it.
The former bodybuilder was handcuffed on his lounge room floor in a struggle seconds after police broke inside.
He is expected to be the fifth protest organiser charged with incitement after a series of posts and videos on Thursday night.
Former bodybuilder James Bartolo is a key figure in conspiracy theory circles, holding talks on many subjects and organising followers. He has been arrested for incitement
Bartolo filmed the two detectives and two uniformed officers from his balcony as they arrived at his unit with a search warrant.
He told them they didn't have authorisation to be on the property, despite the warrant stating they could enter by force if necessary.
'You are illegally trespassing and you will be charged. If you break anything you will be prosecuted,' he shouted at the officers.
However, the lead detective was in no mood to entertain Bartolo's bizarre pseudo-legal beliefs that police don't have power over him.
'Open the door or I'll force it, I'm not playing a game,' he called out.
'You've had all the opportunity in the world, James, are you going to come open the door, yes or no?'
Bartolo filmed the two detectives and two uniformed officers from his balcony as they arrived at his unit with a search warrant, and bashed down hs door when he wouldn't open it
Bartolo ran downstairs as the banging at the door got louder, arriving just as police swarmed into his unit. He was then arrested in a struggle on his lounge room floor
Bartolo protested that he was on the toilet when the officers knocked on his door, and demanded they tell him what was going on.
He still refused as they tried to explain he was suspected of incitement, which he denied, saying he told people not to go to the protest.
'Leave my s**t, don't break my stuff you f**king r****ds,' he yelled as police began to break down his door with a battering ram.
Bartolo ran downstairs as the banging at the door got louder, arriving just as police swarmed into his unit.
Officers yelled at him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back as they grabbed and handcuffed him.
He was released on bail later on Friday to face court on May 25. All is computers and phones were confiscated as evidence.
Bartolo runs the Conscious Truth Network group on Facebook which is a hub for a long list of conspiracy theories.
Planned 'Freedom Day' protests on Saturday are regularly discussed and promoted by Bartolo and his disciples on the group page.
Bartolo updated his fans after he was released, urging them not to go to the protest on Saturday - but not because he didn't support demonstrating.
'Don't go, it's a trap. But don't live in fear - I got arrested, they stole my shit, it's a pain in the a**e but whatever, I'm fine,' he said.
James Bartolo, from Melbourne, launched Facebook group The Conscious Truth Network on June 1
'Be careful with what you say and what you do - be smart be strategic.
'I said not to go because it's the worst possible thing to do because it's a setup - terrible day, terrible location.
'Daniel Andrews will just blame the protests for the lockdown extension. Let him release his roadmap on Sunday, but he won't be able to blame protests. Think what happens after that.'
Bartolo was singing a different tune in a video on Thursday night that was likely part of the reason he was arrested.
'I suggest if you're thinking of going or not going... just f**king go,' he said.
In the same video he gave protesters tips on how to conduct themselves on Saturday, including to avoid police and be compliant.
Bartolo claimed to not be involved in actually organising the protest, which he said was planned 'terribly' and following ones needed to be done a lot better.
He then showed a map of Melbourne with the planned protest site of the Shrine of Remembrance, which he thinks will be so packed with police no one will get in.
Instead, he said he would be 'keeping a safe distance from police at all times' and protesting in other areas.
'I don't want to meet them, I don't want to go talk to them, and I'd recommend no one does that, because they're probably not going to be very nice on the day,' he said.
Bartolo then drew a line on the map of where he thinks he will walk from the Shrine across the CBD, staying 100m away from police at all times.
A protest is being organised in Melbourne that aims to deft the strict stage four lockdown restrictions
Bartolo drew a line on the map of where he thinks he will walk from the Shrine of Remembrance across the CBD, staying 100m away from police at all times
He told viewers that if they were corned by police to be peacefully arrested and get people to film it.
'I got arrested at the first protest, handcuffs were on, they put me in the van for three minutes, got my name and details and let me go,' he