Black Lives Matter Rallies held across Australia braving virus spread
Thousands of Australians on Saturday protested to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter rally.
Sydney: Thousands of Australians on Saturday protested to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter rally.
According to a BBC report, the protests took place defying warnings by officials over the pandemic. The rallies raised voice against police brutalities on the country’s Aboriginal communities in the backdrop of African American George Floyd’s death in police custody.
In Sydney, some rally organisers were penalised for violating health rules following a ban on the protest was withdrawn minutes before the demonstrations. The organisers challenged the ban in the state court of appeal, which overruled the ban minutes before the rally was to begin.
Around 5,000 protestors were allowed to protest. As per the government directives, over 10 people would not be allowed to gather. Protests were also held in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and elsewhere.
Black Lives Matter protests in Berlin, London, Paris and Sydney today (clockwise) pic.twitter.com/sekN4ePLHJ— redfish (@redfishstream) June 6, 2020
The rallies were staged peacefully. No untoward incident was reported. The report quoted the police saying that tension prevailed at Sydney's Central Station in the evening, where cops had to use pepper spray. There were 20,000 protesters but only three were held.
Protestors were holding placards with slogans “I can't breathe” reminding the last words uttered by Floyd. Another banner said: “Same story, different soil”. Observers said they did not recall having witnessed such massive protest in the recent past. This indicated the robust support for the cause of the indigenous Australians.
The BBC report stated that the Aboriginal people are among the most imprisoned across the globe in comparison to the percentage of their population, which is mere 3% of the country. However, they comprise 30% of jail inmates. This has been the situation for decades. It has actually worsened. However, the issue has got the limelight now.
Protestors across the country were asked to apply sanitisers on their hands and follow social distancing. Most demonstrators wore masks, but could not observe social distancing. The Victoria police announced penalties amounting to USD 1,150 each on the organisers for violating health rules.
Protesters raised slogans: “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land” and “Too many coppers not enough justice”. Leon Saunders, an elderly protestor, said: “The raw deal Aborigines have been getting in this country for my lifetime and many lifetimes before that is just not right.
“We can look at America and say what terrible things are happening over there but right here on our home soil, there are just as bad things happening and they need to be improved,” said another protestor.
An investigation conducted in 1991 had found 99 custodial deaths of Aboriginal people. However, a study carried out by Guardian revealed 432 such deaths since then. Police officers have never been prosecuted for the custodial death of an Aboriginal person.
Two German tourists fined for swimming in Venice’s Grand Canal
A CNN report from Venice, Italy stated that two German tourists on Friday had to pay a fine of $790 for swimming in the Grand Canal. Later, they were asked to leave the city.
The report quoted a police spokesperson as saying: “It happened Wednesday afternoon around 3 pm local time. The two men undressed near the Rialto bridge, leaving their clothes there. They jumped into the water and swam, crossing the Grand Canal.”
Venice is famous for its network of canals. The Grand Canal is among the most popular tourist destinations. The police said the penalty imposed on the two tourists was not on account of restrictions during the epidemic.