Six people who attended the Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney today have been arrested, while one of the event’s organisers was detained by police
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said the situation was ongoing and in addition to the arrests, infringement notices were handed out, along with a $1000 fine.
Of those arrested at the Domain, where the protest took place were three men aged 40, 37 and 22, and two women aged 50 and 23.
A 25-year-old woman was arrested and issued a criminal infringement notice for “offensive language”.
According to The Guardian, organiser Paddy Gibson was fined and detained by police, but is free to go - other organisers said they too were fined, but not arrested.
On Facebook, the event’s organisers confirmed the protest had been cancelled.
“Please share spread the word the rally is OVER. The struggle for justice will continue,” a post on the event’s Facebook page said.
“Organisers have been arrested and fined, and a move-on order has been issued for the entire area,” another post said.
“We recommend that anyone who was on their way to the Domain does not come anymore. We will be back.”
On the Facebook page Justice For David Dungay Jnr an organiser said the police action was ‘over the top’ and during the press conference it was confirmed “few hundred” police officers were out in full force, although the exact number was not confirmed.
“David’s family have not even been allowed to have a coffee without being harassed and threatened,” the post said.
During the press conference Asst Comm Willing insisted police respect people’s right to protest, just not during a pandemic.
“We understand the issues that are in question here are significant and are sensitive to a lot of people,” he said.
“However, we must do what we can to ensure that the public in general are safe at this time.”
Protesters' coronavirus precautions
Justice Mark Ierace on Sunday accepted the police argument that the possibility of community transmission of COVID-19 arising from the Sydney rally made the event too risky.
Yesterday, the organisers of the protest lost their court appeal, after the planned protest was prohibited amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The rally was set to start at 12pm on Tuesday, and on the event’s Facebook page, organisers outlined coronavirus safety protocols to keep protestors safe, including all protesters leave their details to allow for contact tracing if necessary.
David Dungay Junior was just 26-years-old when he died in Long Bay jail in Sydney in 2015, Mr Dungay screamed “I can’t breathe” as guards held him down.
His older sister, Christine Dungay, told Yahoo News Australia she was disappointed the protest was not allowed to go ahead.
“I understand with COVID and what’s going on with the pandemic, but do they realise racism is a pandemic and has been for hundreds of years – and there’s a cure and they refuse to use it,” she said.
“We just want justice for our brother and equality. If there was no racism, my brother would still be here today.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.