The Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner also said that rally organisers will be fined for breaching mass gathering restrictions.
The Prime Minister has issued a warning to Australians considering attending the Black Lives Matter rallies set to take place across the country this weekend to stay at home, saying protesting is not worth the potential public health risk it poses.
“This isn’t about people’s ability to express themselves and engage in protest activity, we all respect that,” said Scott Morrison, who said that people should “find a better way” to support the cause rather than putting their health and the health of others at risk by gathering in large groups to protest.
“I encourage people not to attend for those reasons and those reasons only,” he added.
Morrison’s advice is in line with previous statements issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and Premier Dan Andrews, who both held press conferences to urge Victorians not to take part in the protests.
“There are a number of people who are determined to be there on Saturday. I’m advising against that, but they’re going to be there,” said Andrews.
“So the question then is, do you lock people up? Do you enflame what, I think, is already a volatile situation considering the depth of feeling on these issues, or – as Victoria Police have done – say, ‘Look, it’s by no means ideal, but it’s certainly better than seeing that gathering on Saturday deteriorating into something like the scenes we’ve seen overseas.”
“I’ve got a very clear message: don’t go to the protest,” he said.
While Victoria Police have said they will use their discretion on the day in regard to issuing fines to protesters, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton stated yesterday that organisers behind the rallies will be fined if the protests breach mass gathering restrictions and social distancing rules – meaning there would need to be a maximum of 20 protesters present to avoid fines being issued.
At the time of writing, almost 25,000 people have registered their interest to attend a rally in Melbourne’s CBD this Saturday.
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#BlackLivesMatter Solidarity and Stop Black Deaths In Custody Protest Essentials! Make sure if you’re attending the actions on unceeded Kulin lands or in Meanjin (Brisbane) that you are prepared and ready for the front line. Melbourne, 6th of June 2pm at Parliament House Steps Meanjin, 6th of June 1pm King George Square #ACAB #FTP #NOJUSTICENOPEACE #BLM #
The Stop Black Deaths in Custody rally is happening on Saturday June 6 from 2pm and will meet at Parliament House steps at 1 Spring Street, Melbourne CBD. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
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