This afternoon’s Black Lives Matter protest at The Domain has been shut down following a move on order issued just before midday, and organiser Paddy Gibson being detained.
Gibson has since been let go by NSW Police, who also issued him with a fine. Honi understands that police told him he was under arrest.
At least three others in addition to Gibson were also detained, and have since been released and issued with $1000 fines. These attendees were also told by police to leave the CBD.
Several other attendees were also hit with $1000 fines at the event which saw more police than protesters. Police were also stationed throughout the city.
James Sherriff, who attended the rally as a COVID-19 safety marshall, tasked with handing out masks and hand sanitiser, was told he was detained for breaching the public health order, despite being 2 metres away from the closest person.
“The officers who issued me with the fine clarified that there was no reason I was detained specifically, and that they were simply “picking people off from the group.” Both officers confirmed this repeatedly when I sought to clarify what had happened, admitting that they were just randomly targeting protesters as they moved away from The Domain, even though we were in safely distanced groups of no more than 20.”
Today’s protest was ruled a prohibited public assembly by the Supreme Court with the appeal unsuccessful. In the initial judgement, Supreme Court judge Mark Ierace said the decision was in part because NSW was on the “knife-edge”of COVID-19 community transmission.
The decision followed complaints about NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller publicly announcing via 2GB radio his intent to take the organisers to court, as opposed to consulting with Gibson beforehand.
There is no evidence that Black Lives Matter protesters caused the Melbourne COVID-19 spike.
Today’s rally was moved from Town Hall to The Domain to allow for social distancing under NSW Government guidelines.
The Dungay family have been invited to NSW Parliament today, and have asked supporters to show up at 3PM.