New South Wales police secured victory with a court order to prohibit a protest scheduled for Saturday.
Hundreds of protesters and police are expected to assemble at Central Sydney on Saturday, not minding the New South Wales Supreme Court ruling that the planned protest to draw global attention to police mistreatment of indigenous Australians lacks a legal backing and should not go ahead.
The Guardian reports that after NSW police authority urged the court to cancel the Black Lives Matter protest scheduled for the Town Hall in Sydney on Saturday.
Justice Desmond Fagan ruled that allowing the protest which expects about 5,000 persons to go ahead during the Covid-19 pandemic is risky for public safety.
The event plans to express solidarity with the U.S demonstrators over the death of George Floyd and to register disapproval over the death of persons of indigenous extraction in the hands of Australian police.
Since the recent killing of an African-American man, Floyd in Minneapolis, Australians have protested against their own country’s large number of black deaths in police custody.
Australia has recorded about 7,200 cases of coronavirus and efforts have been increased to successfully reduce the incidence since April and there have been zero community transmissions in NSW for over 7 days.
Justice Desmond Fagan said Australians have sacrificed so much to fight off this disease, ruling that health safety is greater than the right to protest in the given circumstance.
In a related development, Latona Dungay, whose son, David died in prison in 2015 informed AFP news agency he and others were going to join in the protest whether the government liked the idea of the protest or not.
Dungay noted that Australia was their home land and nobody had rights to stop them.
Also the Australian Prime, Minister Scott Morrison, criticized the planned protests on Friday suggesting there were alternative means for these sentiments could be expressed that would not pose as much risk to public safety.
According to Daily Mail, several cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth have already played host to the protesters.
Meanwhile, police in Melbourne have discouraged members of the public from attending any planned protest there, pleading with organizers to cancel the event or risk being asked to pay heavy fines.
However, in Adelaide and Brisbane, protests have been approved by the police.
Over 432 Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australians have died in police custody since the 1990’s, according to data from The Guardian.
Nearly 10,000 persons have indicated an interest in being a part of the protest holding on Saturday at the centre of the city.
Organizers had informed persons interested in attending the protest to wear face masks as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE), and be willing to observe social distance during the protest.
BBC News reported that State Premier, Gladys Berijiklian asserted the protest had been given a go ahead at first, but the number of persons who have shown interest have raised red flags about the prospects of observing social distancing as a containment strategy for the prevention of coronavirus spread.
She told reporters that both the government and the police had advised the Supreme Court of NSW not to consider the protest as legal because the protesters could not guarantee safe social distancing.
The decision has been greeted with strong criticisms by some who think the government is trying to stifle freedom of speech.
David Shoebridge of the Greens party says that approach was not necessary. The politician said there needed to be maximum co-operation and understanding, not the use of an unnecessary force.
Ahead of the court ruling, Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi also asserted that although Covid-19 was dangerous, but systemic racism was even more dangerous.
The state’s police force was criticized earlier this week over the controversial arrest of an Aboriginal teenager in Sydney. Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said he hoped the incident would not lead to the kind of violent demonstrations recorded in the US.
Australia has been gradually easing its coronavirus lockdown and NSW has begun allowing businesses to reopen, outdoor gatherings of 50 people, and even urging people to travel locally.
NSW recorded some new coronavirus cases on Friday, and all involved returned travelers in quarantine.