Mass rallies are expected to sweep Australia over the June long weekend with tens of thousands planning to join the global Black Lives Matter protests and call for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Thousands are expected at protests in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart on Saturday to show solidarity with the BLM movement and African American George Floyd. who died while being arrested in Minneapolis.
The Australian protests are also a show of support for the Aboriginal community and highlight high levels of indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody.
NSW's highest court has banned the Sydney protest because it breaches coronavirus restrictions but it is unlikely to stop marchers.
About 5000 people were expected to rally at Sydney Town Hall in honour of Mr Floyd and Australian man David Dungay Jr.
But Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan on Friday declined to approve the Stop All Black Deaths in Custody rally as an authorised public assembly.
Before the decision, however, Mr Dungay's mother vowed she would march regardless of the ruling.
Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said authorities have always feared an outbreak in indigenous communities.
Professor Murphy said that while people had the right to protest, mass gatherings were dangerous in the midst of a pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also urged Australians not to attend protests.
Thousands of protesters are expected at the rally in Melbourne.
Protest organisers Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance have stressed safety of the community is paramount while also insisting the event outside Victoria's Parliament House will go ahead.
Victoria Police have warned rally organisers could be fined $1651 because of COVID-19 restrictions and that fines could also be issued to individuals.
Thousands are also planning to march through Brisbane starting at King George Square despite limits on large public gatherings.
Police and the Queensland premier would prefer people show their support online but will not stop the march against First Nations deaths in custody, and violence and systemic racism towards black people.
In South Australia, the state's police commissioner has granted permission for a BLM protest to proceed in Adelaide, calling it a "unique and extraordinary" event.
Up to 4000 people are expected to gather in Victoria Square before marching through the city.
Commissioner Grant Stevens says the exemption from emergency provisions will allow the event to go ahead without breaching COVID-19 restrictions, but those taking part must still be mindful of their own health and the health of others.
Hundreds have registered their interest in attending a candlelight vigil on the lawns of Parliament House in Hobart.
Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said Tasmania Police supports people's right to protest provided it is done legally.
Australian Associated Press
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