Sydney Black Lives Matter Protest Banned

June 5, 2020 Updated: June 5, 2020

NSW Police have won an injunction in the state’s highest court effectively banning a large protest over COVID-19 fears.

About 5000 people were expected to rally at Sydney Town Hall at 3 p.m. on Saturday in honour of U.S. man George Floyd and Australian man David Dungay Junior.

But Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan on Friday ruled the “Stop All Black Deaths in Custody rally,” organised by Raul Bassi, was not an authorised public assembly.

Justice Fagan said he appreciated the issue and that it was designed to be concurrent with similar events in other countries.

“I don’t diminish the importance of the issues and no one would deny them in normal circumstances,” he said.

“No one denies them that but we’re talking about a situation of a health crisis.”

Other countries hadn’t respected COVID-19 and had suffered “markedly worse” than Australia, he said.

Australians had also given up their livelihoods, pursuits, endeavours and rights to worship to help halt the spread of COVID-19, the judge said.

“Everyone has given up a lot in order to defeat the disease on the basis that this is best advice health officials have given us,” he said.

Bassi said he and police agreed on Thursday the protest could go ahead.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told the court a protest of 10,000 could “increase the risk of community-acquired infections and the seeding of clusters”.

By Luke Costin