• Protesters at one of the previous Black Lives Matter rallies in Sydney. (AAP)Source: AAP
The NSW Police Commissioner has urged people not to attend a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney next week, but organisers say his warnings are just another way to silence Indigenous voices.
By
Keira Jenkins

Source:
NITV News
21 Jul 2020 - 10:38 PM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2020 - 10:40 PM

Organisers of a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney say they will find ways to have their voices heard, and that the protest will proceed despite plans from NSW Police to block the event.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller warned people not to attend the rally, which is planned for July 28.

"The question is, do you want your protest to be the one that puts NSW back five or 10 years economically because that's exactly what could happen," he told Sky News on Monday.

"I think it would be devastating to anyone's cause to cause the next cluster breakout in NSW."

Paul Silva, the nephew of David Dungay Jr, who died in custody in Long Bay jail in 2015 said Mr Fuller's comments are just another strategy to silence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

"Police always want to stop these protests regardless of any pandemic or what's happening in the world," he said. "They don't want the First Nations people to be heard.

"Our family - the Dungay family - have sat through the court process, we've sat through the coronial inquest process and out of the process we received no accountability.

"This is our fight to demand justice, which is take to the streets."

Paddy Gibson is working alongside the Dungay family to organise the rally. Mr Gibson said far less people were expected to attend the July 28 rally than the previous rallies as it was planned for midday on a Tuesday.

More than 1000 people have indicated on social media they will attend the rally, with a further 3000 indicating their interest in attending.

Mr Gibson said a more likely number is around 500 and that safety will be a priority, with masks and sanitiser being handed out and protesters being asked to leave their details with organisers.

"The rally organisers take the issue of COVID very seriously," he said.

"If we were in lockdown in NSW things might look a bit different."

Mr Gibson said he understands the need to be flexible with plans as COVID-19 clusters continue to arise, but said at this point he does plan to fight any attempts by police to block the rally going ahead.

"We are certainly willing to look at and reflect and mould our tactics to the emerging COVID situation," he said.

"However at the moment in NSW there is no lockdown, there continues to be commercial activity that brings people together.

"And in those circumstances we're saying nowhere else in the world needs a Black Lives Matter movement more than Australia where Indigenous people are incarcerated at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world, where people are still killed and no one held accountable.

"We will stay on the streets until we see change."

Mr Fuller said police will issue infringements at the rally, even if their attempts to block it are unsuccessful.

"Win, lose or draw, we can still take action against people for breaching health orders," he said.

Mr Silva said he hoped the the threat of fines would not deter people from turning out to the rally.

"People that can't afford the fines and people who are scared of having a fine issued on them, it'll deter them from attending," he said.

"But in saying that, we do have solicitors on the ground supporting attendees with legal support if needed."

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