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Police in New South Wales, Australia won a Supreme Court case to stop a Black Lives Matter protest from taking place on Tuesday, July 28th due to coronavirus concerns.
The family of a man who died in police custody at a jail in Australia in 2015 organized the protest to demand justice for those who were involved in his death.
The protest was blocked after police raised concerns that it would “breach public health orders” and lead to a spike in coronavirus infections.
Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, the family is determined to continue the protest.
Authorities in New South Wales, Australia won a Supreme Court case which prevents a Black Lives Matter protest from happening in Sydney due to coronavirus outbreak concerns, 9News reported.
The family of a man who died in police custody organized the protest for Tuesday, July 28th, to demand justice. David Dungay Junior, an Indigenous man, died jail in 2015. According to the report, his death resembles that of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in May. Similar to Floyd, Junior, who was restrained by police, told the officers, “I can’t breathe,'” before he died, according to 9News.
ABC News Australia reported New South Wales police commissioner, Mick Fuller, took the organizers to court over concerns about how the rally would “breach public health orders,” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Court decision on Sunday was in favor of the police to stop Tuesday’s protest, the report said.
According to the report, Supreme Court Justice Mark Ierace made his decision based on the risk of the spike in coronavirus cases in New South Wales due to the “resurgence” in Victoria, a neighboring state.
“That current assessment of the level of risk, in spite of relatively low numbers of community transmission, is consistent with New South Wales presently being on the knife edge of a further escalation in community transmission of the virus,” Ierace said, according to the report.
Insider previously reported that coronavirus cases declined in the major cities in the US where the protests occurred due to demonstrators following guidelines and wearing a mask. The report says it’s harder for the virus to thrive outdoors.
New South Wales police are warning people to not attend the rally as it is “now unauthorised.” According to the report, in a statement, authorities said, “Those thinking of attending – despite the Supreme Court decision and health advice – are strongly urged to reconsider their plans.”
The police also said that while they support “the rights of individuals to exercise their right to free speech, large-scale events, such as these, are currently subject to restrictions under the Public Health Act,” which are orders made by the Minister of Health and Medical Research for the public to abide by to combat the virus. The statement also noted that the police department “will not hesitate to take the appropriate action, if required.”
Despite the Supreme Court decision, the family plans to continue with the protest. Junior’s family accused authorities of trying to silence their voices, 9News reported.
“Me and my family are disappointed about the outcome of the court hearing today but we will be appealing the decision to the Court of Appeal as we won’t stop until there is justice for my Uncle’s death,” Junior’s nephew, Paul Silva, said in a statement, according to the outlet.
“The Commissioner isn’t interested in investigating my Uncle’s death, all he wants to do is to shut me up and silence black voices. To stop us complaining about the way we are treated,” Silva said, according to the report. “We’re going to continue demanding justice for David Dungay Junior.”
According to the ABC Australia report, one of the organizers Paddy Gibson agreed that the protest will go on.
“We do not suspend democracy, we do not suspend the basic fight for justice that Aboriginal people have got going in this country just because there’s a pandemic,” Gibson said, based on the report.
He urges that demonstrators who are attending should follow coronavirus guidelines, the report says.
“We can do everything we can to keep everyone as safe as we can — we will be safe on Tuesday, do not come if you have any symptoms at all,” he said. “Make sure you wear a mask, make sure you comply with the regulations and stay distant but please, racism cannot be defeated by isolating in your house.”
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