Anyone who attends the Invasion Day protests at Djarrbarrgalli (The Domain) risks receiving a fine and potential jail time for breaking the 500-person COVID-19 gathering limit, NSW Police Minister David Elliott said today.
Currently, over 2900 people have already hit “Attending” on the protest event on Facebook, with another 3800 “Interested.”
“Unfortunately, anyone who attends tomorrow will be exposed to fines and imprisonment,” Elliott told 2GB.
“We’ve issued a number of fines [in the past] and people have been before courts and people tomorrow will be exposed to fines because they’ll be in breach of public health orders.
“I can’t believe any organisation, let alone one that pretends to advocate for Indigenous rights, would say, ‘Let’s put aside the risk of COVID-19, let’s breach public health orders, let’s get together despite the pleas of the community asking them not to get together.’”
Organisers for the Invasion Day event have asked those wishing to attend to register through the rally’s COVID-safe form for contact tracing, and are being urged to wear a face mask, use the QR code check-in and practice safe distancing.
In the event description, organisers specify that the event will be strictly “COVID-safe,” and advise those experiencing cold or flu symptoms not to attend.
Despite these reasonable attempts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the police are still intent on fining people on the spot.
Elliott also made sure to specify that this decision was not “racial”, which kinda sounds like someone saying “I’m not racist, but…”
“NSW Police have never told people they can’t get together because the position they’re advocating is unpalatable. We encourage people to express those views, that’s what sets us apart from other countries,” he said.
“Anyone who’s claiming it’s racial, that’s absolutely nonsensical.
“You should be expressing your opinion to your local member, you should be expressing your views online, this year just isn’t the year to [protest] unfortunately.”
COVID-19 has made marching a bit more difficult for certain individuals, especially people who are immuno-compromised, but if you are keen to march despite police threats, HERE is a list of Invasion Day protests being held right across Australia on January 26.