NSW Police Minister Called Those Planning On Protesting In Solidarity With BLM This Weekend Amid COVID-19 ‘Certifiably Insane’
UPDATE 9pm Friday, June 5: The Black Lives Matter protest planned for Town Hall in Sydney tomorrow at 3pm has been banned by the NSW Supreme Court, but organisers say the rally will still go ahead. Head to the organiser's Facebook page for updates.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott has called anyone who's planning on protesting during the coronavirus pandemic "certifiably insane", according to reports by the ABC.
He also criticised the protest in Sydney – happening tomorrow afternoon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement in the US and against police treatment of First Nations Peoples here in Australia – declaring it was “not my sort of cause” and asserting that police officers would be out in force during the demonstration.
"Anybody who goes to a mass gathering during a pandemic is certifiably insane, they are nuts," David Elliot reportedly said during an interview on Macquarie Radio this morning.
"I have literally been up half the night talking to senior police, taking legal advice, but as the Premier said yesterday there are things in our society that are just virtually impossible to stop and the right for political freedom is one of them," he continued.
We are taking precautions and have collated a list in this infographic.
*Bring extra masks*
Remember to stay 1.5m apart from
Stay home, if you’re sick or have other needs eg. people at home with immune compromised.
— gunditj gay bo ftp (@Tarneen) June 1, 2020
The protests across Australia this weekend are some of many happening all over the world in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd in the US last week. George Floyd, an African American man, was killed by white police officer, Derek Chauvin, who stood on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The murder was caught on film, where Floyd repeatedly told officers, “I can’t breathe”. Three other police officers stood by and watched. Derek Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder, and the other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. George Floyd was 46 years old. He was known to friends as "Big Floyd", who described him in reports as a "gentle giant".
Australia’s protests will of course centre around the many injustices and systemic racism in our own country; more than 400 Indigenous deaths in police custody remain unaddressed in Australia, and studies continue to show that Aboriginal people are hugely overrepresented in our criminal justice system.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that despite concerns that the protest could increase coronavirus transmission, Australians still had the freedom and right to protest and she would protect that. ScoMo, however, urged people not to attend the protests happening over the weekend, saying at a recent press conference that he feared it would undo all the progress Australia has made in flattening the curve.
Greens Senator for NSW Mehreen Faruqi had a different take, writing on Twitter, “There's no doubt Covid-19 is dangerous, but so is systemic racism. First Nations people have asked for our support.”
There's no doubt Covid-19 is dangerous, but so is systemic racism. First Nations people have asked for our support. See you at the rally - be safe, keep your distance & wear a mask if you have one. Solidarity.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) June 5, 2020
It’s Australia’s turn to stand up against systemic racism and police brutality rife in this country; all the information you need to know about the protests happening this weekend can be found here.
Main Image Credit: Licensed by Getty
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