Three females and three males have been arrested at a Black Lives Matters protest in Sydney today, 28 July, after the protest occurred despite the NSW Supreme Court deeming it an unauthorised public gathering.
Five of those arrested have been issued a $1,000 fine for breaching public health orders and another person received a criminal infringement notice for offensive language.
The march was organised for David Dungay Jnr – a 26-year-old Aboriginal man who died in Long Bay Gaol in December 2015.
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) organiser Meriki Onus supports the #BLM protest and its accompanying petition calling for charges to be laid on the prison officers allegedly involved in the incident.
“We firmly believe that standing up for Black lives is an essential service and have grave concerns about the attacks on freedom of speech in this current climate. We can have safe and healthy protests and have our message heard. The evidence shows there’s been no community transmission at any BLM action nationally.
“We refute the racist and false claims by NSW Police Commissioner, Michael Fuller, that the Melbourne BLM rally contributed to the current Melbourne COVID-19 spike; there is no medical evidence linking the current spike in Melbourne to the BLM protest on June 6. In fact, there is no evidence of community transmission at any BLM protest across the country to date.”
A NSW Police spokesperson said police were not “anti-protest” but we were in the middle of a pandemic and the public’s safety came first.
“We appreciate people’s right to protest – we understand the issues that are in question here are significant and sensitive to a lot of people, however we must do what we can to ensure the public are safe.”
In NSW, no more than 20 people can gather outside in a public place. However, major sporting venues can have up to 10,000 people or 25% capacity – whichever is lesser – when the event can be ticketed.
NSW community sports can have a maximum of 500 participants.