Six people were arrested at a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney today (Tuesday), reports the ABC. Five were handed penalty infringement notices, while the sixth, organiser Paddy Gibson, was forcibly taken away from the Domain and driven to State Parliament before the rally was due to start at 12pm.
In footage from Nine News, Paddy Gibson can be heard yelling: “Leave now, don’t come near me, don’t come near me. Tell the people to cancel the rally, leave the Domain...”
Police Commissioner Mick Willing said it was unfortunate any arrests had been made at all. "As we said all along, we are not anti-the right to protest. This is about public safety. At the end of the day, we are in the middle of a pandemic," he said. "The Supreme Court judge himself described the current situation in New South Wales as being on a knife's edge."
The rally had been deemed unlawful by the NSW Supreme Court on the weekend, and this decision was upheld during a last-minute appeal yesterday, but supporters had said they’d march anyway following social distancing and other health and safety protocol. The protest was due to begin at noon, but police issued move-on orders just after 12pm, forcing the rally to be over before it began.
The protest was organised to demand justice for Dunghutti man David Dungay Jr and other First Nations people who have died while in police custody. Mr Dungay died in jail in 2017 after five guards forcibly restrained him and gave him a powerful sedative.
434 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since 1991. Not one perpetrator has been convicted in relation to any of these deaths. A new study has found that three quarters of non-Indigenous Australians hold an implicit bias against First Nations Peoples.
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