Six protesters arrested at Sydney Black Lives Matter march

| 28.07,20. 03:37 PM |

Six protesters arrested at Sydney Black Lives Matter march

The protester was escorted from Sydney's The Domain on Tuesday afternoon.(ABC News: Jesse Dorsett)

Police have arrested six people, including organiser Paddy Gibson, at a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney.

Five of those arrested were handed penalty infringement notices.

Mr Gibson was put in the back of a police vehicle before the rally was due to start at 12:00pm.

After he was fined $1,000 for breaching a public health order, Mr Gibson was whisked into State Parliament through the back entrance by Greens MP Jenny Leong.

Police Commissioner Mick Willing said it was unfortunate that people had to be arrested, and he urged protesters to stop breaching public health orders.

"As we said all along, we are not anti the right to protest. This is about public safety. At the end of the day, we are in the middle of a pandemic," he said.

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"The Supreme Court judge himself described the current situation in New South Wales as being on a knife's edge."

Organisers have confirmed their intention to meet again outside State Parliament at 3:00pm.

The rally was ruled unlawful by the NSW Supreme Court on the weekend, which was upheld at a last-minute appeal yesterday.

Supporters said they would march anyway while observing social distancing and other health and safety protocols like wearing masks.

"Stand on your own. Stand in a group that is smaller than 20," Mr Gibson said yesterday.

"Come and have your lunch in the Domain in Sydney tomorrow.

"It's not illegal to have your lunch in the park in the city of Sydney still even under the COVID-19 pandemic … we'll be continuing to raise our voice for justice."

Previously Mr Gibson told the ABC the protest was being held to demand justice for David Dungay Jr and other black people who have died in custody.

Mr Dungay died in Long Bay Jail in 2015 after five guards restrained him and gave him a powerful sedative. He was 26.

Following an inquest, NSW Corrections Commissioner Peter Severin acknowledged "systemic issues" and "clear failings" contributed to Mr Dungay's death.

There was a large police presence at the Domain in preparation for the rally, including riot and dog squads.

But just after noon, organisers said police move-on orders meant it was over before it could begin.

As demonstrators were marched out of the Domain by police, organisers told the crowds to "disperse, disperse".

Some protesters headed to Hyde Park, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Domain, but they did not congregate as police officers trailed them.

After the protesters were detained, a post on the event's Facebook page, Justice For David Dungay Jnr, instructed people on the way to the march to stay away instead.

"We are now appealing for people NOT to come to the Domain.

"Please share spread the word the rally is OVER."

Lawyer Yashvi Shah watched the rally from the NSW Supreme Court and said she could see many more police officers than protesters.

"What I saw from many metres away were protesters socially distancing from each other, and every single one of the protesters I saw were wearing masks and were peaceful, not causing any chaos," she said.

Among the crowd today was the nephew of Mr Dungay.

The family of Mr Dungay presented a petition of signatures to the NSW Government this afternoon calling for charges to be laid against the guards involved in his death.

Mr Dungay's mother Leetona Dungay said the petition had "more than 100,000" signatures.

She said today's rally was "a bit scary".

"We showed them a sign that we wasn't going to give up and get justice and charges and changes."


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