Protests for George Floyd and Indigenous Australian Deaths in Custody

Sat 6th June, 2020
A series of rallies are happening across the country this weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and against the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody. If you plan to attend, wear a mask, bring hand sanitiser and be mindful of social distancing – the gatherings contravene Covid-19 guidelines and have been warned against by authorities in Victoria and NSW.

Update: The NSW Supreme Court has ruled Sydney's Black Lives Matter protest is illegal. In Victoria, where there are ongoing coronavirus outbreaks, the chief health officer and premier Daniel Andrews have advised people against attending. Gatherings of more than 20 people (or 10 in NSW) are still restricted for public health reasons.

As the world responds to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Australians have been urged to look more closely at the systemic police brutality in our own country. More than 400 Indigenous Australians have died in state custody or at the hands of law enforcement since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

A series of rallies are happening across the country this weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and against the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody.

In a statement released on Thursday, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton advised people against attending the protest. “Unfortunately now is not the time for thousands of people to gather together, putting your and others’ health at risk. We are still in the middle of a pandemic ... The restrictions are there to save lives – I urge everyone to consider other ways to show support,” he said.

On Friday Victoria's deputy police commissioner said organisers of the Melbourne protest will be fined if more than 20 people attend the rally – thousands are expected to attend the event on Saturday. (Gatherings of more than 20 people in Victoria are still restricted for public health reasons.)

Also on Friday the NSW supreme court deemed the Sydney protest unlawful, saying it would be a public safety risk. The state's Covid-19 guidelines restrict outdoor gatherings to 10 people.

If you do still plan to attend a protest, wear a mask, bring hand sanitiser and be mindful of social distancing.

The protests are being organised by, or in conjunction with, Indigenous Australian activist groups. Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance is organising the Melbourne and Brisbane protests, and the Adelaide protest is happening in collaboration with SOS Blak Australia.

The Sydney rally, which will also be live-streamed, is being jointly organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association, the Anticolonial Asian Alliance, and the USYD Autonomous Collective Against Racism. Protesters are asked to wear black in solidarity.


Melbourne
Sat June 6, 2pm to 5pm– Parliament House, Melbourne

Sydney
Sat June 6, 3pm to 5pm – Town Hall, Sydney
The Supreme Court has ruled Sydney's Black Lives Matter protest is illegal. See more details here.

Brisbane
Sat June 6, 1pm to 5pm – King George Square, Brisbane

Adelaide
Sat June 6, 12pm to 1.30pm – Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga, Adelaide

If you’re looking for other ways to show your support, you can donate to the following causes:

Change the Record, Australia’s only national Indigenous-led justice coalition of Aboriginal peak bodies and non-Indigenous allies
Healing Foundation, a national organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma experienced by Indigenous Australians
National Justice Project, a not-for-profit legal service that provides representation to the vulnerable and runs a targeted health-law program for First Nations peoples
Free Her, which supports Indigenous Australian women who are imprisoned for not paying fines
Bridging the Gap, a foundation addressing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians’ health and education opportunities
Pay the Rent, which encourages non-Indigenous Australians to donate a portion of their income for living on Indigenous land
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, established to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system