'What would you do?': The Project host close to tears in emotional plea to Aussies

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The Project panellist Nakkiah Lui has issued an emotional plea to Australians as protests over racial tensions continue around the world.

Thousands of protesters marched in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday evening, calling for an end to the mistreatment and abuse of Australia’s Indigenous people.

It was sparked by ongoing civil unrest in the US after the death of black man George Floyd, 46, while being arrested by police officers in Minneapolis.

Nakkiah Lui is pictured on Network Ten's The Project. She pleaded with Australians to stand with Indigenous people.
Nakkiah Lui has implored everyone to stand with Australia's Indigenous people and demand an end to abuse at the hands of police. Source: Twitter/ The Project

Writer and actress Nakkiah Lui, who is a Gamilaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman, tweeted on Tuesday about Aboriginal deaths in custody.

“If a white person was murdered every month for 24 years by the same group, we'd call them terrorists,” she tweeted.

“You call it Australia.”

Lui was asked about her tweet on Network Ten’s The Project, which she co-hosting, on Tuesday night, to which she replied: “These people aren’t just numbers – they have names.”

Protesters shout slogans and hold up placards during a rally in Sydney against the deaths of members of the Aboriginal community in Australia and the death of George Floyd.
Protesters call for an end to racism in Sydney's CBD on Tuesday afternoon. Source: Getty Images

She mentioned David Dungay, who died in police custody in 2015, and Tanya Day, who died in 2017. In total, 432 Indigenous Australians have died in custody since 1991, The Guardian reported.

Lui told the program “they were loved” and “are still loved”.

“So what I want to say is just to the people that are watching, think about your loved ones, what would you do if they died begging for help?” she said, fighting back tears.

“What would you do if they died with a knee on their neck?”

Lui was referring to the vision showing a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck as he told police he couldn’t breathe before his death.

She also implored Australians to unite and stop the mistreatment.

“What I'm saying is be angry for us, stand with us, protest with us because we need you,” Lui told The Project.

“There was never no wonderful Australia. We can create hope by creating a better world for each other.

“I don't want to live in a country where names become numbers. I just don't.”

A protester wearing a face mask holds up a sign reading, 'I can't breathe', during a Sydney rally.
More protests are set to take place across the weekend in Australia. Source: Getty Images

People on social media described her plea as “amazing”, “powerful” and “inspirational”.

“I came close to crying so many times tonight,” one woman tweeted.

Lui’s on-air message comes after a NSW police officer was filmed sweeping the legs of an Indigenous teen and arresting him in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Surry Hills.

The video’s led to widespread outrage.

While the teen has been released from hospital, an investigation is being undertaken by NSW Police’s Professional Standards Command.

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