Hundreds of people filled Garema place on Friday morning to peacefully protest Aboriginal deaths in custody, marching towards Parliament House chanting "black lives matter".
It is one of a number of demonstrations across the country, protesting to "show solidarity with the George Floyd protest in the USA and protest the institutionalised racism that Indigenous people face here in Australia".
The protests are also highlighting the need for greater awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in Australian police custody.
But a number of people, including the Prime Minister, have spoken out against the demonstrations taking place, saying social distancing rules should be observed.
"Our message is very clear, that the health risks of gathering in such large numbers and the risks of people coming into close proximity are real and Australians have worked incredibly hard in recent months and have undergone a great sacrifices to protect the health of the most vulnerable and that does include our Indigenous communities," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Aunty Matilda House welcomed protestors to "send a message to the government" about Aboriginal deaths in custody and racism in Australia, saying this was an issue prevalent in the ACT.
"Aboriginal men and women have been taken from our lives and not once has it ever been explained, and they and all of us still can't breath," she said.
"We still can't breathe.
"Let it be explained. We will not put up with police brutality, we will not put up with the way governments act towards us. We need the support, we need that care."
A lone voice in the crowd of hundreds rebelling against the united front was quickly quashed.
A woman questioning Ms House's call to end "colonialist attitudes in this country" made her way to the stage but was quickly surrounded, and walked away from the protest to the crowd chanting "black lives matter".
"This isn't new," Leah House told the crowd. She thanked everyone for the turnout as she made a powerful speech.
"Better late than never," she said.
"We're all here today because we've seen a spark ignite across the world with George Floyd's death, and that's deadly."
"You should be so proud of yourself right now. But this isn't just a problem that's happening over in America, in NSW, in Western Australia.
"If you're here today and you know George Floyd, you know David Dungay Jnr but you don't know the last Aboriginal death in custody in Canberra.
"That's why we're here today."
The stories of Aboriginal Australians were heard across the lawns of Parliament House.
Protestors sat peacefully listening to the experiences of Aboriginal Australians, calling for an end to Indigenous deaths in custody.
Robert Smith turned out alongside his family to fight for justice for his cousin, Steven Freeman.
Mr Freeman died in custody in 2016, his family spoke at the protest on Thursday.
A few hours earlier and a short distance away, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was urging Australians not to attend the protests on health grounds.
"For all of those Australians who couldn't attend the funeral of a family member or couldn't see a loved one in a nursing home or a veteran who couldn't remember their fallen colleagues by attending a war memorial service on Anzac Day, I think all Australian so all those other Australians agreed duty of responsibility and they say to them don't go," he said.
"Let's say to those who had the absolute agony of not being able to say goodbye to a loved one, let's thank them by showing responsibility this weekend."
Marches are taking place across the country on Friday and Saturday.
In Canberra, police will not be focused on issuing fines for breaching social distancing rules.
ACT Liberals senator Zed Seselja also criticised the protests being allowed to go ahead, saying it is wrong.
- As we reflect on Black Lives Matter, justice reinvestment shows there can be a better way
- Stop stealing Aboriginal kids from their families
- We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country
- Now is the time to listen, not stand in judgment
- The decline of the USA has been a long time coming
- The fury in US cities is rooted in a long history of racist policing, violence and inequality
- Holding up a mirror to the face of Australia