Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday issued a stern health warning to those planning to attend Black Lives Matter protests around the country this weekend.
“The health advice is very clear, that it’s not a good idea to go,” he told reporters.
“Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments, rather than putting your own health at risk, the health of others at risk, and the great gains we have been able to make as a country in recent months.”
Since George Floyd, a Black man, died in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, cities across the United States have taken to the streets to protest racist police violence. There have been 10,000 people arrested in the US alone.
People in Perth and Sydney have protested this week against police violence and mourned not just Floyd but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives lost at the hands of police (David Dungay, Kumanjayi Walker and Tane Chatfield to name a few).
“Stop Black Deaths In Custody” protests are planned in most major Australian cities for this weekend but the PM has made it clear, people should still be very wary of contracting coronavirus.
“The risks of people coming into close proximity are real,” he said adding that if people couldn’t honour veterans on ANZAC Day in the usual way this year, they should find an alternate way to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Let’s say to those who had the absolute agony of not being able to say goodbye to a loved one, let’s thank them by showing responsibility this weekend.”
He also reminded Australia that Indigenous people, even in metro areas, are in a high-risk COVID-19 category due to comorbidities.
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