Thousands of protesters are pouring into the heart of Melbourne for a Black Lives Matter rally.
The rally is in solidarity with the US protests over the killing of George Floyd, and is also calling for an end to Aboriginal deaths in police custody.
Protesters are all wearing face masks and organisers are offering hand sanitiser, after authorities urged people to avoid the mass gathering because of COVID-19 fears.
There is a strong police presence but officers so far appear relaxed.
The centre of the event is at Victorian Parliament steps where Aboriginals of the tribe native to Melbourne, the Wurundjeri, will address the crowd.
Police are lining parliament steps on foot and horseback.
The atmosphere is peaceful.
People are holding banners with slogans such as “united when all are equal” and “silence is violence.”
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has warned that just one COVID-19-positive person at the rally could squander the gains made during the virus lockdown.
Premier Daniel Andrews’ message on Friday was “don’t go.”
Victoria Police have warned rally organisers could be fined $1651 because of COVID-19 restrictions, and that fines could also be issued to individuals.
By Andi Yu