Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked people not to attend rallies and protests planned around the country this weekend, due to the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Rallies are planned in almost every major city in support of Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, and Indigenous deaths in custody.
However, Morrison is instead urging people to stay home, using the sacrifices Australians made during the peak of the COVID-19 shutdowns to shame people into not going.
#BREAKING: The Prime Minister has encouraged people not to attend Black Lives Matter protests this weekend because of the continuing risk of coronavirus.
— ABC News (@abcnews) June 5, 2020
“It is important for people to have their right to protest … but with those liberties come great responsibility,” Morrison said.
“For all of those Australians who couldn’t attend the funeral of a family member or couldn’t see a loved one in a nursing home or a veteran who couldn’t remember their fallen colleagues by attending a war memorial service on Anzac Day, I say to them don’t go.
“We all found a way on Anzac Day – we stood on the end of our driveways and we held up a light.”
He said it was for “those reasons only” that people should not attend.
It looks like the NSW government is also set to remind people that public gatherings of more than 500 people are currently banned.
A joint press conference between Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant was announced this morning for 12.30pm.
2GB’s Ben Fordham reported it was to tell protesters not to gather.
The state can still issue fines of up to $11,000 per person for flouting social distancing orders.
More than 10,000 people have said on Facebook that they are attending the Stop All Black Deaths in Custody: Rally and Vigil for George Floyd this Saturday.
Due to increasing numbers, rally organisers changed the starting location to Sydney Town Hall, which will then march to Belmore Park and hold a vigil.
Attendees are encouraged to wear masks, bring hand sanitiser, stay 1.5-metres apart, and to stay home if they feel ill.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to the USYD Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR), who are organising the rally, for comment.