Australian authorities are taking legal action in a bid to stop a Black Lives Matter protest scheduled to take place in Sydney on Saturday, June 6, citing the risk of exposure to coronavirus given the large numbers expected to attend.
The New South Wales police has applied to the Supreme Court to declare Saturday's rally illegal on the grounds the rally would breach COVID-19 health orders. The matter will be heard in court on Friday, June 5. The move comes a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison told people to avoid participating in Black Lives Matter protests and "find a better way to express these sentiments."
New South Wales police had originally allowed the protest based on the understanding that there would be fewer than 500 protesters. However, organizers are now expecting tens of thousands of people to attend the protest.
"The New South Wales government would never, ever give the green light to thousands of people flagrantly disregarding the health orders," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Similar protests are planned in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide – and have sparked similar concerns. In Victoria, chief health officer Brett Sutton has urged people not to attend Saturday's planned rally.
Protests Around the World
Protests in Australia and around the world, have been spurred by the death of African American man George Floyd at the hands of US police. Floyd died after being suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer with his knee over the 46-year-old's neck for nearly nine minutes.
Protesters are expressing their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and drawing attention to similar incidents in their own countries. The Black Lives Matter rallies in Australia are being held to protest the death of its indigenous population in police custody.
Thousands of people gathered together for a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London on Wednesday, June 3, including "Star Wars" actor John Boyega. "Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain't waiting," Boyega told the crowd during the protest in London's Hyde Park.
On Tuesday, June 2 an estimated 20,000 people took to the streets of Paris, despite a police ban, to protest against the 2016 death of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old man who died after he was pinned to the ground by three officers.
In Cape Town, South Africa, a small group of protesters gathered in solidarity with protesters in the U.S., with signs reading "If You Are Not Angry, You Are Not Paying Attention."
In Tel Aviv, demonstrators gathered to shine a light on the deaths of Black Israelis at the hands of police. Protesters were also calling for justice in the killing of Iyad al-Halak, a 32-year-old Palestinian with autism who was shot by Israeli Border Police last week.