A Black Lives Matter rally set to be held in Perth on Saturday at Hyde Park has had to change location to ensure adequate physical distancing amid coronavirus concerns.
The rally has been shifted to the more spacious Langley Park.
Rally organiser, Jacinta Taylor-Foster, said measures were being taken to ensure the safety of those who attend.
“If you are sick and vulnerable, we urge you to stay home,” she said in a social media post.
“We have changed venue to Langley Park (Riverside Drive) so that people have the room to socially distance.
“And as well as asking people to bring their own water bottles, face masks and hand sanitiser, we are working on also providing these on the day of the event.”
Last week, Premier Mark McGowan said he would not “ban” people from attending rallies.
But he urged organisers to apply for exemptions for gatherings over 300 people and ensure protesters followed COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene rules.
However, WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has expressed concern over the health impacts for Indigenous people attending large rallies.
“I know a lot of families who have lost people while incarcerated. This is a very sensitive issue, so nobody disputes its substance,” Wyatt told The West Australian.
“It’s something that has bedevilled Australia for a long time, but I’ll just make this point – Western Australia, in particular, has done more than any other state in Australia to protect our Aboriginal communities.
“This coronavirus is still there, we haven’t defeated it yet.
‘This coronavirus is still there, we haven’t defeated it yet.’
“I’m just really worried about large groups of people coming together and then going back out to regional WA or to their communities and potentially taking a spread with them.”
His concerns echo those of Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, who tweeted on Friday that mass gatherings could risk the health of the Indigenous community.
“The right to protest is important,” he wrote.
“But it can’t risk the health of our community. We’ve worked hard to limit the spread of COVID19.
“We can’t risk an outbreak.”
According to the rally Facebook page, the protest will be held to “raise awareness toward the 432 deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody”.
“We are banding together to unite in amplifying the voice of the First Nations People,” the event page read.
“We want to prevent the deaths of incarcerated Indigenous Australians in the future.
“We want the recommendations from the 1987 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody implemented.
“This glaring injustice has gone on far too long.”
More than 6500 people have indicated on social media that they will be attending the event.
In the video below: AMA urges Black Lives Matter protesters to self-isolate
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