NSW has lodged a legal application to stop a Black Lives Matter protest occurring in Sydney, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday.
About 20,000 people have pledged to attend a protest organised in Sydney on Saturday in the wake of the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd in US police custody.
The protest had secured permission as it originally planned to have fewer than 500 people present. But Berejiklian said when it became clear that thousands planned to attend, the legal application was made to the state’s Supreme Court.
“This is because the protesters could not guarantee adherence to the health orders,” she told reporters.
“They could not guarantee safe social distancing and simply the number of protesters far exceeds - far exceeds - the health orders and we can’t afford to have exceptions for anybody.
“I’m asking, appealing and pleading with those thousands of people who’ve indicated they’re turning up to a protest - please, do not do it.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday also issued a stern health warning to those planning to attend Black Lives Matter protests around the country this weekend.
“The health advice is very clear, that it’s not a good idea to go,” he told reporters.
“The risks of people coming into close proximity are real,” he said adding that if people couldn’t honour veterans on ANZAC Day in the usual way this year, they should find an alternate way to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“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,” he said.
Award winning recording artist Briggs said that ANZAC Day, known for its dawn service and booze-fuelled 2-Up betting game, was quite different to protesting Black deaths in custody.
Cities across the United States have taken to the streets to protest racist police violence for more than eight days straight.
There have been 10,000 people arrested in the US alone.
People in Perth and Sydney have protested this week against police violence and mourned not just Floyd but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives lost at the hands of police (David Dungay, Kumanjayi Walker and Tane Chatfield to name a few).
“The risk is great, I don’t deny that. I am an at-risk person,” Indigenous academic Marcia Langton told ABC Radio.
“I do appeal to everybody to wear masks and social distance at the protest. But at the same time, every time an Aboriginal person goes out on the street we are at risk.”
Reuters contributed to this report.