The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association has called on Black Lives Matters protesters to postpone a planned rally in Sydney on Tuesday next week, due to the growing threat of COVID-19.
In a statement on Thursday, the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) said it “unreservedly” supported “peoples’ right to protest”, but urged protest organisers to call the march off and reminded people that the virus was still prevalent.
“For the sake of our Elders and most vulnerable, AIDA urges people not to attend the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest marches in Sydney this weekend [Tuesday next week] until the risks of further spread of COVID-19 can be mitigated,” the statement said.
“We acknowledge the work of Black Lives Matter protest organisers in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in protests held so far, and do not link existing cases of COVID-19 to previous protests.
“Despite this, as doctors we are bound to remind everyone that social distancing is still the best way to prevent the further spread of this potentially deadly new virus.”
AIDA said it recognised the “legacy of racism” and called for great commitment to justice reinvestment strategies, diversion programs and culturally appropriate ways to address the core issues raised by the BLM movement.
Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, Mick Fuller, has taken protest organisers to the supreme court to block the event from going ahead.
Overnight, seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in NSW, with six of them linked to the Thai Rock cluster at Wetherill Park.
Currently, there are 96 active cases being treated by NSW Health, with three people in intensive care, including one person being ventilated.
A decision from the supreme court on whether the protest can go ahead legally is expected today.