National

Protest organiser says coronavirus blame is 'unfair' as event goes ahead

Protest organiser says coronavirus blame is 'unfair' as event goes ahead
A Black Lives Matter protest is expected to go ahead in Sydney today, despite organisers being warned, twice, it is a public health risk.
The Supreme Court made a ruling on Sunday the event was illegal, with the Federal Government saying it is "the most dangerous act anybody could do during a pandemic".
Despite this, protesters are still planning to meet at Sydney's Domain at around 12pm today, to hold a "peaceful protest picnic".
Activists gathered in The Domain earlier this month to rally against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody. (Getty)
Protest co-organiser Paddy Gibson has taken a dig at the NSW Government's condemnation of the event, claiming it is politically motivated.
"Why is (the Premier's) government giving exemptions to commercial operations to allow thousands of people gathering indoors, including major shopping centres?" Mr Gibson asked Today.
"They won't work cooperatively with protest organisers who put forward a plan more than a month ago to the NSW Government saying we want to carry this out in a socially distancing safe way."
Mr Gibson disputed there was a risk posed by the protest and "any of the other thousands of social gatherings and mingling going on across the state of NSW" was just as dangerous.
He said an alternative plan had been put forward to NSW Police a month ago and that any suggestion protesters will be responsible for more coronavirus deaths in NSW is unfair.
Co-organiser of the Black Lives Matter protest at Sydney's Domain, Paddy Gibson says it being condemned is politically motivated. (Today)
"The Domain is a big enough venue that protesters will be able to attend without being in groups bigger than 20 people," he said.
"It is completely unfair that we are being told we are somehow responsible for deaths when you are not dragging the proprietor of Westfield to condemn them for continuing their operations – This is a politically motivated thing.
"The grieving family of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island families must have justice."
Police will be out in force at the event and warn that anyone not social distancing or adhering to public health regulations will be issued with on-the-spot fines.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also said she won't hesitate to throw the book at protesters who defy the Supreme Court ruling.
"(But) we hope it won't come to that," Ms Berejiklian told Today.

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"If you are not worried about yourself think about your loved ones you could be infecting and causing enormous harm to. We are appealing to people's consciences.
"In NSW we are in a very, very critical point.
"It only takes a few cases for this thing to go out of control. We have seen that in Victoria."
The protest was organised by the family of Aboriginal man David Dungay Junior, who died in Long Bay Jail in December 2015.
An appeal to the court's Sunday ruling was rejected yesterday and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said any planned rally was quite simply "breaking the law".
Leetona Dungay says protesters will be health-wise and she wants charges laid over her son's death in custody. (A Current Affair)
But Mr Dungay Junior's mother, Leetona, told A Current Affair last night she would not give up until charges were laid over the death of her son.
"It's important to me and for a lot of Aboriginal mothers, because every week we're losing a child," she said.
"I think we're going to be all health-wise."
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