“You’re on our land,” said Kaya Nicholson, a 17-year-old Indigenous organizer. She told protesters that while she appreciated their support in this moment of global unrest around race, it was crucial that Australians continue to speak up for Indigenous people.
“Don’t just support Black Lives Matter because it’s trending,” she said.
Ron Baird, an African American living in Australia, drew parallels between Australia’s troubles and the crisis in the United States, disputing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s suggestion this week that Australians were “importing” problems that had not already existed in the country.
“No Mr. Morrison, Australia is not the United States, but Australia does have its own long, dark, brutal past of oppression,” Mr. Baird said.
In Britain, the health minister, Matt Hancock, cited Covid-19 on Friday in warning protesters not to gather this weekend. “I understand why people are deeply upset, but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat,” he said.
His warning came as the infection rate increased in the northwest and southwest of England, health officials said, with the R number rising to 1 or above it.
The Metropolitan Police’s deputy assistant commissioner in London, Laurence Taylor, told the BBC, that because of social distancing rules allowing only six people from different households to gather outdoors, the planned demonstrations across the country were “unlawful.”
Damien Cave reported from Sydney and Livia Albeck-Ripka from Melbourne, Australia. Elian Peltier contributed reporting from Paris, and Yonette Joseph from London.
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