Stop All Black Deaths in Custody Rally (Sydney, June 2020)


This past Saturday in Sydney, 20 000 people turned up to rally in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests that have rippled across America in the last couple of weeks. The killing of George Floyd bears an uncomfortably striking resemblance to the death of an Aboriginal man named David Dungay Jr in 2015. Australia has it's own terrible history of Black deaths at the hands of authorities. This rally called for justice for all these lives lost, and for an end to the systems that perpetuate violence and racism against First Nations and Black people.

In a deliberately antagonistic action against the protest and its organisers, the NSW police had the rally made illegal just one day prior, arguing it would be a public safety risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. The last-minute nature of this challenge would have failed to keep most protesters away, and it came off as an ominous foreshadowing of a heavy-handed police presence on the day.

The actual rally went much better than that. Shortly before the march, the NSW Court of Appeal reversed the ban meaning the tens of thousands of people who had already turned up were no longer breaking the law. From where I was standing, there was a respectful quiet across the crowd, more so than at similar rallies held on Invasion Day each year. People were attempting to follow social distancing measures where possible and the police presence was relegated to the outer edges. Except for a ham-fisted and brutal attempt at crowd control by police at Central station, the march was largely a peaceful and positive showing of support.

Some photos from the rally follow, with some resources and links about the local cause at the end:

Protesters at Town Hall tram stop listening to speeches

Opposite angle showing protesters stretching from Town Hall tram stop, down Pitt Street, disappearing into the distance

Protesters marching down Castlereagh Street

Protesters filling the street down the hill of Castlereagh Street all the way to Belmore Park

Protesters marching around a corner in to Belmore Park. A protestor is holding a cardboard sign saying "Aboriginal Lives Matter"

Protesters fill the entirety of Belmore Park in all directions

Protesters listening and clapping for the vigil at the end of the march

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