Thousands attended peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across Australia on Saturday, June 13. Perth (Western Australia) had the largest protests in the country on Saturday, followed by Melbourne (Victoria) and Sydney (New South Wales). Protests have continued despite warnings from officials and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of large gatherings exacerbating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country. Despite a heavy police presence at most protests, demonstrations remained largely peaceful and took place mainly in public parks and main streets. Some protesters also called for freedom for refugees stuck in indefinite detention in Sydney and Melbourne.
Further associated protests may occur in Australia in the coming days.
George Floyd died while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The four arresting police officers were subsequently fired, and one has since been charged with murder. Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters gathered on May 26 to denounce the death and actions of the police officers. Clashes ensued between protesters and riot police; with demonstrators throwing bricks and projectiles at police and police property, and police responding with tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to disperse the crowds. Protests have since spread to a number of cities across the US, with solidarity protests taking place throughout the world.
Individuals in Australia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence and transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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