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Issue #1919      June 15, 2020

Police brutality

Sydney District Committee CPA – Media Release – June 7

The Sydney District Committee (SDC) of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) condemns the instances of police brutality and corresponding conduct by the NSW police force following yesterday’s “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) protest in Sydney. Following the peaceful protest attendees were forced into Central Station where pepper spray was used without warning against non-violent protesters and observers, including a woman on crutches. This act of brutality by the police cannot be justified and is a contemptible act of violence.

The SDC also notes that forcing a large group of people into a tightly enclosed space and spraying noxious irritant chemicals is unhygienic and deeply irresponsible in the context of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the context that the NSW government and police previously attempted to use to outlaw the BLM protest. The SDC of the CPA condemns this flagrant disregard of public health and safety.

The massive “Black Lives Matter” protest march in Sydney on Saturday afternoon was peaceful. In this context the conduct by the NSW police force later on Saturday night was shameful. The actions of protestors throughout this time consisted of the passionate chanting of political slogans and passive resistance. This was observed by CPA members. This sorry incident at Central Station was not inevitable and was escalated due to heavy handed police measures.

Over 40,000 people, including many members of the Communist Party marched yesterday in support of the black lives matters movement and in defiance of attempts by the NSW government and the NSW Police Force to suppress this march. In Australia over 400 aboriginal people have died in custody since the 1990. Aboriginal people face daily discrimination and harassment by police. Many members of Pacific Islander, African and Arab communities face similar oppressions daily. The use of violence by the police against young people, mostly of minority backgrounds will only further inflame tensions in the community.

In these times of COVID-19 where people are losing their livelihoods due to it, it is only natural the people will take to the street to voice the demand for democratic rights, economic equity and social justice. A democratic society is one that would celebrate civic participation and engagement of this kind. A truly democratic society would act on the demands of the people for justice rather than attempt to police them into oblivion. The Communist Party of Australia will always stand in solidarity with the oppressed working peoples of the world.

Contact: Daniel Fisher
Secretary of the Sydney District Committee

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