Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged people not to attend Black Lives Matter protests that are expected to take place in major cities around the country this weekend as the New South Wales government took court action to try and stop the rally there from going ahead, citing the risk of coronavirus.
Organisers expect thousands of people to attend rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities that aim to focus attention on Australia’s poor record on police treatment of Indigenous people, including 432 deaths in custody since 1991 when a landmark inquiry into Aboriginal deaths in custody reported its findings. None of its recommendations have been implemented.
The protests have split opinion, with some state police and lawmakers approving the action despite the health risks. Morrison said people should find other ways to express their anger.
“The health advice is very clear, it’s not a good idea to go,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments … let’s exercise our liberties responsibly.”
In New South Wales, the state with the largest population in Australia, the state government on Friday went to the Supreme Court to try and stop the rally in Sydney from going ahead.