An anonymous government figure has alleged that activists are threatening to spit at Victoria Police officers at tomorrow’s Stop Black Deaths in Custody protest in Melbourne, with the specific goal of drawing a violent response from law enforcement officers – but the protest’s organisers say they have no idea where that claim came from.
Citing a “senior government source,” The Age today claimed that “police are preparing for tactics from some protesters on Saturday designed to provoke physical confrontation and produce images of police brutality”.
The source claims spitting at police is one provocation being considered.
In the same article, the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), the group organising tomorrow’s protest, said they haven’t called for any kind of provocation.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said collective member Tarneen Onus-Williams, adding, “We want to keep everyone safe.”
At time of publication, the offices of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville, have not responded to PEDESTRIAN.TV’s requests for comment.
While the protest has raised concerns for community health during the coronavirus pandemic, WAR has urged demonstrators to minimise physical contact and to wear masks – two factors which stand to make spitting pretty difficult.
“We are working closely with health organisations to make sure the march will be as safe as can possibly be,” the group said on the event page.
Despite that, Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton today said the organisers would be fined under the state’s coronavirus protocols if more than 20 people attend. At time of writing, more than 19,000 have registered their interest on Facebook.
Black Lives Matters protests held in Sydney and Perth earlier this week were peaceful events, with no reports of provocations from demonstrators.
Similarly, no reports of violence have emerged from this afternoon’s protest in Canberra.
— Olivia Leeming (@olivialeeming) June 5, 2020
Speaking this week about the demonstrations in the United States sparked by the death of George Floyd, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there’s “no need to import things happening in other countries” to Australia.
Footage from countless demonstrations across America shows police escalating the use of force against peaceful protestors, and the Australian Government even asked US authorities for answers after a 7NEWS news crew was bashed by riot police in Washington D.C.
According to WAR, if anyone is looking to “import” those scenes, it’s definitely not them.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted the organisation for comment.Image: John Abbate / Getty Images / Facebook