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Issue #1919      June 15, 2020

Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney

CPA shows its support

Communist Party of Australia (CPA) members in New South Wales attended the Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally and march held on 6th June at Sydney Town Hall in commemoration of George Floyd, a Black man who was brutally murdered at the hands of the police.

The march also protested against black deaths in custody where, since the Royal Commission delivered its final report in 1991, 435 deaths are known to have occurred in prisons, police hands or juvenile detention institutions.

The day before the rally controversy broke out over the legal status of the protest. NSW Police took the organisers to court over “concerns” the event would breach COVID-19 public health orders about social distancing. The Supreme Court found that the planned actions were illegal.

Many scoffed at the ruling, seeing the decision made by the court as nothing but a scare tactic, an attempt to deter people from attending the march.

However, it didn’t work. Instead, the march’s Facebook event page skyrocketed with those marked as going, as the ruling became known.

Within half an hour of the event commencing, the Court of Appeal found in favour of legalising the rally.

Following the rally, the march proceeded in an orderly fashion, with chants calling for an end to Black injustice, many noting the 435 deaths as a stark reminder of how far we have yet to go.

At moments the crowd kneeled in silence in solidarity with Black people across the world, many chanting Floyd’s last words “I Can’t Breathe” as a symbol of the corruptness in law enforcement.

The march ended in Belmore Park with over 40,000 people in attendance, leaving many who marched sprawled out onto the streets near Central station.

However, that was not the end of the night.

Instead of allowing what remained of the crowd to disperse in its own time, police officers fired pepper spray without warning, including into the face of a young woman on crutches, and collectively boxing into protestors in a military tactic known as kettling.

As the night quickly progressed, the officers continued to press protestors against Central station in an attempt to get them on any train that would get them out of the city.

The walls of Central station are small and enclosed. As a result, the pepper-spray fired by the police at the crowd filled what little air existed, causing many agitated eyes and skin.

In order to facilitate and help protestors who were hit, the Peter Symon House – CPA headquarters – operated nearby, safeguarding vulnerable people.

As quickly as the police brutality came, it left. However, several people were arrested. One source claims that lawyers across New South Wales were allegedly attempting to get in touch with the police but denied their presence until much later in the evening.

The CPA will always stand in solidarity with First Nations people and joins with them.

Next article – Police brutality Sydney DC CPA – Media Release

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