Protesters in Australia who take part in demonstrations to support the Black Lives Matter movement will be facing fines of up to $1000. Demonstrations to support the movement for racial equality has spread all over the world in the past month, but the issue is especially fitting for Australia, where the country’s indigenous populations suffer massive injustices at the hands of the government. Protesters have also called for the release of refugees who were captured by immigration enforcers while attempting to enter the country.
However, law enforcement officials deemed the event to be “unauthorized” and threatened attendees with fines of up to $1,000.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said that the gatherings were banned due to public health orders relating to the coronavirus pandemic. NSW police minister, David Elliott said that protesters can even be arrested for attending a demonstration.
“I urge those thinking of protesting despite the Supreme Court decision and against the health advice to promptly reconsider their plans,” Elliot said.
This ruling is reportedly in response to massive BLM protests that occurred in Melbourne on Saturday, June 6th. Over 10,000 were estimated to have shown up for the protest, and officials say that some people developed symptoms shortly after.
However, many of the demonstrators say that refugees are being kept in unsafe conditions which could further the spread of the virus, and they suggest that this is one of their reasons for hitting the streets.
Despite the threats of fines and imprisonment, thousands of people showed up for the protests over the weekend, although it is not entirely clear how many were arrested or ordered to appear in court.
— Matilda Boseley (@MatildaBoseley) June 13, 2020
The protest is organized by Anticolonial Asian Alliance, Indigenous Social Justice Association, and the University of Sydney Autonomous Collective Against Racism. Organizers posted notices warning demonstrators to watch out for police and be careful to follow all of the pandemic protocols.
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