Sydney Black Lives Matter Protest Organiser Arrested And Fined Before Event Began
More than 1,400 people were planning on attending the event in the Domain in the CBD just after lunchtime to show their solidarity with the movement, despite the Supreme Court deeming the rally illegal.
Authorities took the organisers to court last week, claiming the event was a health risk due to the coronavirus pandemic and the court ruled in favour of police.
However, Paddy Gibson said the event would still take place and encouraged people to still head to the Domain and gather in groups of no more than 20.
Police were there in force to prevent anyone from congregating and warned people they would be moved on or arrested.
"You are in breach of the public health order by congregating in the Domain in a group of more than 20 people," police said over a loudspeaker before the arrests, according to 9News.
"If you do not immediately disperse from the Domain you will be detained, and legal action will be taken.
"You must immediately leave the Domain, you are breaching the Public Health Order."
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Before the event could get underway at midday, police arrested Gibson and chucked him into the back of a police van, according to ABC News. Five others were also arrested. Mr Gibson was fined $1,000 for breaching a Public Health Order.
After police descended on the event, people planning on attending were told not to come, otherwise they might meet the same fate.
A statement was posted onto the rally's Facebook page, which said: "Hi all, organisers have been arrested and fined and a move-on order has been issued for the entire area - We recommend that anyone who was on their way to the Domain does not come anymore. We will be back."
ABC News reports some of the people who had turned up walked towards Hyde Park, but did not congregate there as they were tailed by police.
Mr Gibson told attendees that if they were to gather in groups of less than 20 then technically they would be allowed to have their protest without breaking any rules.
"Come and have your lunch in the Domain. It's not illegal to have your lunch in the park in the city of Sydney still even under the COVID-19 pandemic...we'll be continuing to raise our voice for justice."
Police were worried that, with the second wave of coronavirus infections going on in Victoria at the moment, a large gathering of people in New South Wales would be a bad idea.
Featured Image Credit: ABC News