‘They’re playing Russian roulette with our lives’: Top cop threatens to fine every protester who attends a planned BLM rally in Sydney next week as state battles a coronavirus explosion
- More than 4,000 people are expected to attend rally in Sydney next Tuesday
- NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller, appealed to Supreme Court to block it
- Six cases of COVID-19 were linked to protests held in Melbourne in June
- Mr Fuller says police will be fining attendees up to thousands of dollars
Thousands of people planning to attend a Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney next week will be hit with $1,000 fines, according to the NSW Police Commissioner.
More than 4,000 are expected to take to the streets next Tuesday demanding justice for Indigenous man David Dungay Jnr who died in custody in 2015.
He was just 26 years old when he died after being forcibly removed from his Long Bay prison cell when guards rushed to stop him from eating biscuits.
But as NSW battles to control a second wave of COVID-19 spreading from Victoria, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has appealed to the Supreme Court to have the rally blocked.
‘I don’t want to see the same thing happen in NSW, and getting a big group together for a Black Lives Matters protest in Sydney, when you know the dangers, is playing Russian roulette with the nearly eight million people who live in the state,’ Commissioner Fuller told The Australian.
‘We’ll be going to the Supreme Court to stop it from going ahead — win, lose or draw, if anyone turns up and breaches public health orders, we’ll start writing tickets for a thousand dollars.’
Mr Fuller said organisers had lodged an application for the protest in late July, but police were prepared to fine those attending.
‘We are taking a tougher approach to breaches because there is a real feeling we are on a knife’s edge at the moment,’ he said.
The Police Commissioner urged protesters to pledge their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in other forums.
‘Whether I can write two or three thousand tickets, I don’t know. But do you want to be that person to get the first ticket?’ he earlier told 2GB Radio.
‘It’s just not the time.
‘We know from Victoria that lives will be at risk and it’s just not worth it.’
Protests held in Sydney last month erupted into chaos when around 30,000 people stormed the city’s CBD.
Dramatic scenes at Sydney’s Central Station saw police using pepper spray on protesters, leaving some screaming in pain and laying on the ground after tensions boiled over.
Chants of ‘f**k the police’ rang out through the city as ralliers demanded justice for Indigenous Australians.
Mr Dungay died in a Sydney jail in 2015 and told officers who were pinning him down ‘I can’t breathe’ 12 times before his death.
The organisers for the July 28 protest which will also demand equality for Indigenous Australians, have urged people to stay at home if they have any flu like symptoms.
More than 4,000 people have expressed their interest for the protest and ralliers are required to keep 1.5 metre distance.