The NSW Government, including NSW Police and Senior Ministers, are attempting to stop the Black Lives Matter protest set to take place in Sydney this Saturday afternoon at Town Hall.
The protest, which could see thousands taking to Sydney streets amid the global Black Lives Matter movement, was approved less than 24 hours ago by NSW Premier, Gladys Berijiklian.
However, NSW Police are now taking organisers of the protest to the NSW Supreme Court after the number of expected protestors grew on the event’s Facebook page since it received the green-light.
Currently, the event is expected to have a strong turn-out of 11,000 protestors, prompting fears of social distancing practices due to COVID-19.
While Berejiklian said on Thursday that she didn’t want to remove the right for people to “demonstrate their ability to protest,” she has since backflipped, deeming the rally “illegal” on Friday afternoon.
Berejiklian also denied ever approving the protest but said that when the organisers first presented their event to NSW Police, the numbers were closer to the size of Tuesday night’s rally.
NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller said that while the protest was initially approved, Supreme Court action is now the only legal way to stop the demonstration.
“As of this morning, that had escalated to a potential 10,000 protesters turning up and the organiser, himself, admitted that he couldn’t ensure that the protesters could adhere to [social distancing],” Commissioner Fuller said.
“The health advice is very clear, that it’s not a good idea to go,” PrimeMinister Morrison added. “Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments, rather than putting your own health at risk, the health of others at risk, the great gains we have been able to make as a country in recent months, and let’s not forget the terrible economic consequences of that as well, let’s not put that at risk, let’s exercise our liberties responsibly.”
However, many have called the Prime Minister out for the hypocrisy of his message, after Morrison declared that “it’s a free country” when pushed to comment on the small but idiotic anti-lockdown, anti-vaxxer and anti-5G protests earlier in May this year.
Several arrests were made on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne on Sunday, May 10.
“I understand people’s frustration,” Morrison said in the aftermath.
“[People are dealing] with the anxieties and the frustrations that they’re feeling; it’s a free country.
“People can make their protests and make their voices heard, but equally that needs to be done in an appropriate way and it needs to respect law enforcement authorities who are just simply trying to do their job.”
“We’re going to go ahead. It’s important that people take to the streets like they’re doing in the US to demand justice,” she told Star Observer.
“The time is now, and we are winning. People power is showing its muscle in the US, and it’s encouraging the world to come out.
“The organisers of Sydney’s rally are going to practice physical distancing, and we’re encouraging people to bring and wear masks. Of course, we also want people to be respectful of distance between each other, and the marshals are going to ensure people are in groups of 50.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that we all collectively abide by health and safety regulations, but we have to take to the streets.”
Evans also commented on Prime Minister Morrison’s comments about Saturday’s protest, telling Star Observer that Morrison’s “hypocrisy” should not overshadow Australians defending their civil liberties and seeking justice for Indigenous communities.
“The thing is that State Governments have sent workers back to work, sent children back to schools, teachers and frontline workers back to their jobs; but this is unsafe,” she said.
“It’s hypocrisy and its double standards. We know that the rich, powerful and racist governments who have presided over 432 deaths in custody since 1991, don’t want people to protest because that’s where our power lies.
“We want compensation for families and jail time for murderers. We’re not going away until these demands are met.
“We’ve seen this before with protest groups being taken to the Supreme Court. This is no surprise, but hand-in-hand we have to defend our civil liberties and our right to protest with the campaign to deliver justice to Indigenous communities.
Indigenous activist, a representative from the Australian Communist Party and co-organiser of Tuesdays smaller demonstration, Keiran Stewart-Assheton, told Star Observer that NSW government officials and Prime Minister Morrison’s priority at-hand is maintaining the “status quo.”
“All they’re trying to do, as far as I’m concerned, is silence us so they can keep the status quo. They don’t want attention raised to this issue,” he said.
“It’s hypocritical. On the one hand, he’s [Morrison] happy with protestors of the lockdown, and on the other, he delayed the lockdown for his own personal reasons.”
The civil unrest that has engulfed the United States and sparked this Saturday’s Sydney protest began a week ago on Monday, May 25, when 46-year-old George Floyd died at the hands of the now-fired police officer, Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck while he pinned him to the ground, despite Floyd’s calls that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd eventually stopped moving before Chauvin removed his knee.
Minnesota’s attorney general has since upgraded the charges brought against Chauvin to second-degree murder, as well as charged the three other officers who took part in Floyd’s arrest.
Since then, activists and journalists have brought to light Australia’s equally abhorrent treatment of Indigenous Australians, hundreds of whom have been murdered at the hands of police while in custody.
All those who attend the Saturday protest are advised to wear black in remembrance and solidarity.
There is also another demonstration organised for Saturday, June 13 in Campbelltown. More information is to come in the following days.