George Floyd protests in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

George Floyd protests in Australia
Part of George Floyd protests
Brisbane Anti-Racism Protest - 6 June 2020 - AndrewMercer - DSC05346.jpg
Brisbane Anti-Racism Protest - 6 June 2020 - AndrewMercer - DSC05261.jpg
Brisbane Anti-Racism Protest - 6 June 2020 - AndrewMercer - DSC05441.jpg
Brisbane Anti-Racism Protest - 6 June 2020 - AndrewMercer - DSC05380.jpg
Brisbane Anti-Racism Protest - 6 June 2020 - AndrewMercer - DSC05387.jpg
Montage of Australian anti-racism protests on 6 June 2020. These images are from the Brisbane protest.
Date1–5 June 2020
Location
Australia
Caused by
StatusOngoing
Cities in Australia in which a protest with about 100 or more participants was held ()

Shortly after protests seeking justice for George Floyd, an African-American who was murdered during a police arrest, began in the United States, people in Australia protested to show solidarity with Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement, and to demonstrate against issues with police brutality and institutional racism, racism in Australia, and Aboriginal deaths in custody. Vigils and protests of thousands of participants have taken part nationwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic made its way to Australia, with the first recorded case in January. By March, social-distancing rules were implemented and international borders closed to non-residents. March also saw lockdown, with services deemed non-essential by governments forced to close. In May, whilst Australia had flattened its curve, states still had various restriction and social-distancing measures, which included limits on gatherings.[1][2][3]

On May 25, US police responded to a callout. As a result, a black man George Floyd was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money. Once restrained, George Floyd's repeatedly stated "I can't breathe" whilst a white officer knelt on his back until he died. When footage of the arrest and death was released, all officers affiliated with the arrest were fired. George Floyd's death was ruled a homicide by the coroner with charges being laid against the officers.[4][5][6]

The death of George Floyd lead to widespread protests in the US, as his death became a focal point for race relations, institutionalised racism and police brutality. Police brutality in the United States was a longstanding social issue with activists often protesting against excessive force and high incarceration rates of African Americans.[7] Aside from solidarity with US protesters, these themes also resonated in Australia, where the media considering similarities with Aboriginal deaths in custody and wider social issues faced by Indigenous Australians.

Oppression of Indigenous Australians is a prominent theme in Australian history. Despite encountering Indigenous Australians upon their arrival, members of the First Fleet invoked the principle of terra nullius to claim the continent. This was followed by a long period of recurrent massacres and violent conflicts. By the 20th century, the Australian government adopted a policy of forcibly separating mixed-race Indigenous children from their families, which remained in place until the 1970s.[8][9][10]

In 1987, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was appointed to investigate 99 cases of Aboriginal deaths in custody during the 1980s. As of 5 June 2020, an additional 434 Aboriginal Australians had died in custody since the commission's findings were handed down in 1991.[11] As of 2016, while Indigenous Australians accounted for roughly 2% of Australia's total population, they made up 27% of the national prison population, with incarceration rates rising markedly in the preceding decade.[12]

The George Floyd protests in Australia often referenced recent instances of Aboriginal deaths in custody. These include: the 2014 death of Ms Dhu in police custody;[13] the 2015 death of David Dungay (whose final words were "I can't breathe") in a prison hospital;[14][15] the 2017 death of Tanya Day in a police cell;[16] and the forceful arrest of an Aboriginal teenager on 1 June 2020.[17]

Many Indigenous people have been frustrated that it took the death of a black man in the US to bring the focus onto the injustices here in Australia.[18]

Reactions[edit]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated his beliefs that violent protests would not create change. He warned against Australian demonstrations taking a similar course as "there's no need to import things happening in other countries."[19] Following major Australia-wide protests on 6 June, Morrison called them "completely unacceptable" and demanded an end to further protests. In addition to concerns around COVID-19, he stated that some protests had been hijacked by left-wing movements, and called for demonstrators at future events to be charged.[20] However, after being challenged on his assertion that there had not been slavery in Australia, Morrison acknowledged that "all sorts of hideous practices" had taken place in the past.[18]

The Labor Party did not directly criticise people protesting, but said that everyone should follow the authorities’ health advice. Senior Indigenous MP Linda Burney said that it was important for the media to focus on the issues, not whether people protested or not.[18]

Demonstrations[edit]

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

Protests have occurred across the state, Australia's largest, to show solidarity with American protesters and to highlight the high rate of death among incarcerated Indigenous Australians.[22] The protests were preempted by an incident wherein a 16-year-old Indigenous boy was kicked and pinned to the ground by a New South Wales Police Force officer in Surry Hills.[23]

Protests that have occurred in the state have done so in violation of the state's coronavirus Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order, which bans gatherings of more than ten people outdoors for a common purpose without a reasonable excuse or exemption.[24]

Sydney[edit]

Three major protests have been held in Sydney. The first was held on Tuesday 2 June, where 3,000 protesters peacefully marched from Hyde Park to Parliament and Martin Place, was held on Tuesday 2 June.[25][26][27]

The second and largest protest was held on Saturday 6 June, where at least 10,000 protesters gathered at Sydney Town Hall and marched to Belmore Park. The crowd chanted "I can't breathe" and held a moment of silence for George Floyd.[28] A counter-protester, who interrupted the protest by holding up an "All Lives Matter" sign, was handcuffed and removed from the protest by police.[28] A group of protesters was pepper-sprayed by police at Central Station following the protest, and Acting Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon later defended this action as an appropriate use of force.[29][30]

The protest caused significant controversy. Premier Gladys Berejiklian originally stated that she believed people had a right to protest, but later backflipped and deemed the protest 'illegal' and in violation of the state's public health orders.[31] Following this, the protest was subject to a successful legal challenge in the Supreme Court from the Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force on the basis of health reasons.[32][33] That decision was overturned on appeal by the New South Wales Court of Appeal just minutes before the protest began.[34] The Court of Appeal – constituted of Chief Justice Bathurst, President Bell and Justice Leeming – overturned the decision of Justice Fagan on the basis that the protest organisers had complied with the necessary steps in order to gain approval to hold the protest in an authorised way.[35]

A third protest was held on the evening of 12 June in solidarity with protesters at Sydney's Long Bay Correctional Centre,[36] where Corrective Services officers fired tear gas on inmates who spelled out "BLM" on the prison yard.[37] Approximately 300 protesters met in Hyde Park because of a significant police presence at Sydney Town Hall, the original location for the protest.[36] 600 police were involved in policing the gathering, and one woman was arrested for failing to comply with a move on order.[38] Mounted police and officers guarded a large statue of James Cook located in Hyde Park on the night, which was later defaced.[39][40] A police officer was filmed making an OK gesture toward protesters,[41] a gesture which has been co-opted by the white power movement.[42] The Police Force denied that the officer used the gesture in an offensive way.[43]

Rest of New South Wales[edit]

Northern Territory[edit]

  • Alice Springs: 500 protesters gathered at the town's courthouse.[53]
  • Darwin: 1000 protesters gathered at Civic Park and marched through the central business district on 14 June, in a protest organised by members of the Larrakia people, who are the traditional owners of the Darwin area.[54] The protest was granted an exemption from the Territory's coronavirus health orders, which restrict outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people.[54]

Queensland[edit]

South Australia[edit]

Tasmania[edit]

  • Hobart: About 3000 people gathered on the lawns in front of Parliament House in solidarity with the international George Floyd protests.[64] Hand sanitiser and masks were made available, and entry to the lawns was restricted at times to keep the crowd at an acceptable size.[64]
  • Launceston: About 300[a] people peacefully protested at a vigil in Prince's Square against racism and police brutality against minorities.[65] Protesters stood for 8′46″ of silence.[66] Speakers also covered issues Aboriginal Tasmanians face, such as Indigenous children being strip searched by police.[65] The vigil had been approved by the local health authorities, and hand sanitiser and masks were made available.[65]

Victoria[edit]

Protest in Melbourne on 6 June
  • Ballarat: An estimated 350 protesters gathered at Alfred Deakin Place for a Smoking ceremony and silent protest.[67]
  • Melbourne: An estimated 7,000 protesters gathered at the Parliament of Victoria and marched to Flinders Street railway station on Saturday 6 June.[68] The organisers of the protest, the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, were each fined A$1651 for organising a mass gathering in violation of the Victorian Chief Health Officer's coronavirus directives,[69][68] which prohibited outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people.[70] Several days later, Victoria's Chief Health Officer revealed that one of the protesters had since been confirmed as COVID positive, though suggested they would have likely contracted COVID-19 before the protest (and may have been asymptomatic during it)[71]

Western Australia[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ An additional 100 people or so were viewing a livestream of the event.[65]
  2. ^ Sources vary in describing the attendance, from hundreds to thousands, with The West Australian reporting "hundreds",[73] Special Broadcasting Service reporting "[a]bout 2000",[74] and The Age reporting "thousands".[75]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Australia's social distancing rules have been enhanced to slow coronavirus — here's how they work". ABC. 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Australia coronavirus updates live: NSW and Victoria to shut down non-essential services". The Guardian Australia. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers"This page is continually updated with new data. The very last day may appear inaccurate as more data becomes available.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. ^ "George Floyd: What happened in the final moments of his life". BBC News. 30 May 2020. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Protesters Hail Charges Against Police but Seek Broader Change". The New York Times. 3 June 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  6. ^ "'This is the right call': Officers involved in fatal Minneapolis incident fired, mayor says". KSTP-TV. 26 May 2020. Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ "George Floyd death: Violence erupts on sixth day of protests". BBC News. 1 June 2020. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Bringing Them Home: Part 2: 4 Victoria". Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. 1997. Archived from the original on 6 May 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2016 – via AustLII: In its submission to the Bringing Them Home report, the Victorian government stated that "despite the apparent recognition in government reports that the interests of Indigenous children were best served by keeping them in their own communities, the number of Aboriginal children forcibly removed continued to increase, rising from 220 in 1973 to 350 in 1976."CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  9. ^ Lewis, Wendy; Simon Balderstone; John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.
  10. ^ "4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010 (final)". abs.gov.au. 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 31 August 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  11. ^ Allam, Lorena; Wahlquist, Calla; Evershed, Nick (5 June 2020). "Aboriginal deaths in custody: 434 have died since 1991, new data shows" – via www.theguardian.com.
  12. ^ "Disproportionate incarceration rate". ALRC.
  13. ^ "Aboriginal woman's treatment 'inhumane'". 16 December 2016 – via www.bbc.com.
  14. ^ "Death of David Dungay Jr". Justice Action.
  15. ^ Anthony, Thalia. "'I can't breathe!' Australia must look in the mirror to see our own deaths in custody". The Conversation.
  16. ^ "Tanya Day – Overview of the Coronial Inquest into her Death in Police Custody". Human Rights Law Centre.
  17. ^ Williams, Carly (3 June 2020). "NSW Police Boss Says Officer Who Slammed Indigenous Teen To The Ground 'Had A Bad Day'" – via Huff Post.
  18. ^ a b c Henriques-Gomes, Luke (12 June 2020). "Indigenous inequality in spotlight as Australia faces reckoning on race". the Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Quoting a meme, Scott Morrison says US violence will not bring about change". SBS News. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Black Lives Matter protests 'completely unacceptable', Scott Morrison says in call for demonstrators to be charged". ABC News. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  21. ^ "Thousands in Australia Join Black Lives Matter Rally". Time. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  22. ^ "'No justice, no peace': Inside Sydney's Black Lives Matter protest". 7NEWS.com.au. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Video of Indigenous teen being kicked to ground by NSW police officer during arrest goes viral". ABC News. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  24. ^ Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 3) 2020
  25. ^ "Live: NSW Now: Government refuses to give up on pay freeze, Sydney protests for George Floyd". ABC News. 2 June 2020. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020.
  26. ^ "Hundreds gather in Sydney as part of latest Australian Black Lives Matter protest". SBS News. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020.
  27. ^ Cooper, Luke. "Thousands of protesters join Sydney Black Lives Matter march". Nine News. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Enormous crowds march through Sydney after Black Lives Matter protests declared lawful". ABC News. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  29. ^ "Tens of thousands call for an end to violence and racism against Indigenous Australians". Special Broadcasting Service. 7 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  30. ^ "NSW Police defend pepper spraying Sydney Black Lives Matter protesters". Special Broadcasting Service. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  31. ^ Rabe, Mary Ward, Tom (5 June 2020). "NSW Police taking organisers of Sydney Black Lives Matter protest to Supreme Court". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  32. ^ "Sydney Black Lives Matter supporters pledge to head to protest despite court ruling". ABC News. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  33. ^ Whitbourn, Michaela; Rabe, Tom; Chung, Laura (5 June 2020). "Black Lives Matter protesters will push ahead despite court ruling". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  34. ^ Whitbourn, Michaela; Mitchell, Georgina (6 June 2020). "Court of Appeal rules Sydney Black Lives Matter protest is authorised". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  35. ^ "Court points to police approval for Black Lives protest". Australian Financial Review. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  36. ^ a b Lorrimer, Laura Chung, Matt Bungard, Dominic (12 June 2020). "Hundreds of people attend Sydney protest despite police warnings". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  37. ^ "Tear gas fired into prison yard of Sydney's Long Bay jail during unrest and Black Lives Matter protest". ABC News. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  38. ^ "Sydney protesters disperse after game of cat and mouse with police". ABC News. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  39. ^ Sanda, Dominica (13 June 2020). "Sydney's Captain Cook statue defaced". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  40. ^ Zhou, Naaman (14 June 2020). "Two women charged after Captain Cook statue defaced in Sydney's Hyde Park". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  41. ^ "NSW Police officer appears to make white power symbol after Black Lives Matter march in Sydney". ABC News. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  42. ^ "When is this gesture not OK?". BBC News. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  43. ^ Boseley, Matilda (13 June 2020). "NSW police officer appears to make white power salute near Sydney Black Lives Matter protest". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  44. ^ a b "Black Lives Matter in Byron and Lismore". Echonetdaily. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  45. ^ Ramsey, Britt (6 June 2020). "BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST IN COFFS ATTRACTS HUNDREDS". NBN News. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  46. ^ Cunningham, Ilsa (6 June 2020). "Push for change at Black Lives Matter gathering in Katoomba". Blue Mountains Gazette. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  47. ^ Harrison, Heath (6 June 2020). "Thousands turn out for Newcastle's Black Lives Matter protest". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  48. ^ "Huge crowds in Newcastle call for change at Black Lives Matter rally". ABC News. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  49. ^ "Australians show support for Black Lives Matter movement in peaceful protests". ABC News. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  50. ^ Hayter, Melinda (10 November 2020). "'Fighter' for Stolen Generations and Indigenous education Aunty Isabel Reid recognised as NSW Senior Australian of Year". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  51. ^ "'Black Lives Matter' protests go global". Australian Financial Review. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  52. ^ "Some white people keep saying #AllLivesMatter. Here's why it doesn't make sense". The Rural. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  53. ^ a b c "Tens of thousands turn out for Black Lives Matter protests across Australia". ABC News. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  54. ^ a b "'This is just the beginning for Darwin': Black Lives Matter protesters push for long-lasting change". ABC News. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  55. ^ Stolz, Greg (6 June 2020). "Outrage as 30,000 defy COVID-19 restrictions for Brisbane Black Lives Matter protests". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  56. ^ Moore, Tony (3 June 2020). "Candles spell out 'I Can't Breathe' as Queenslanders stand in solidarity with George Floyd protests". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  57. ^ Mounter, Brendan. "Why 3,000 people gathered for Black Lives Matter protest in Cairns". ABC Far North. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  58. ^ Boisvert, Eugene (9 June 2020). "Crowds allowed for AFL Showdown but not second Adelaide Black Lives Matter protest". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  59. ^ "Unity the key at peaceful Adelaide march". NewsComAu. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  60. ^ "'Today we stand united': Black Lives Matter crowd stuns organisers". 7NEWS.com.au. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  61. ^ "Black Lives Matter protest to go ahead in Adelaide after exemption granted". ABC News. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  62. ^ "2011 SA Young Australian of the Year: Vincent ["Jack"] Buckskin". Australian of the Year Awards. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  63. ^ Skuijns, Angela (9 June 2020). "'You're going to hear us – really hear us'". CityMag. Photos by Jack Fenby, Tim Lyons and Dimitra Koriozos. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  64. ^ a b https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/06/blm-gathering-nipaluna/
  65. ^ a b c d https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6783834/solidarity-shown-for-people-of-colour-at-launceston-vigil/
  66. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-06/george-floyd-protests-us-live-updates/12327484
  67. ^ https://timesnewsgroup.com.au/ballarat/news/black-lives-matter-rally-fills-alfred-deakin-place/
  68. ^ a b "Melbourne Black Lives Matter protest organisers fined by police". ABC News. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  69. ^ Hope, Rachael Dexter, Zach (6 June 2020). "'No justice, no peace': Thousands pack Melbourne's CBD for Black Lives Matter rally". The Age. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  70. ^ Landis-Hanley, Justine (5 June 2020). "Australia's coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  71. ^ "Black Lives Matter protester among eight new coronavirus infections in Victoria". ABC News. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  72. ^ "Perth hosts nation's biggest BLM rally". The West Australian. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  73. ^ a b Ryan, Kate (1 June 2020). "Black Lives Matter protest draws hundreds to Perth CBD". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 2 June 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  74. ^ Fernandes, Aaron (2 June 2020). "'The world is waking up': Perth joins global protests against police brutality". SBS News. Archived from the original on 2 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  75. ^ Pilat, Lauren; Juanola, Marta (2 June 2020). "'I was too light and too black': The teenager behind one of Perth's largest protests". The Age. Archived from the original on 2 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.

Further reading[edit]