Rockhampton Black Lives Matter Protest to go ahead

Rockhampton’s Black Lives Matter peaceful protest, organised by Rock Naidoc will go ahead on Saturday, despite health concerns after a Melbourne protester tested positive to COVID-19 after attending a march last week.

According to organisers, safety is their number one priority and as such they have asked all participants to bring along hand sanitiser and face masks.

Although everyone is welcome to show their support to the memory of George Floyd and all Black lives that have been lost in police custody in Australia and around the world, organisers urge those who are feeling unwell to stay at home.

From 1pm, protesters will meet at Central Park (corner of Murray St and Gladstone Rd) and march together to the Fitzroy River bank, where speeches, cultural performances and a smoking ceremony will take place.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Police Service said Rockhampton Police were aware of the potential for protests but did not confirm whether they would be present at Rockhampton’s march.

“People should not attend future protests to ensure they can comply with the Chief Health Officer’s directions in relation to COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

“The community is instead encouraged to protest from home or on social media.

“If anyone does attend a protest, they must not gather in groups of more than 20 and must ensure they practice social distancing and good hygiene.

“Stay home if you feel unwell.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday demanded refugee and Black Lives Matter protestors hold off on planned weekend rallies, saying there “shouldn’t be a double standard” for Australians when it comes to social distancing.

“The medical advice is that this is an unsafe thing to do,” he said, making it clear it was impossible to make such large gatherings safe,” Mr Morrison said.

“It puts not only your own health at risk, but it puts other people’s lives at risk.

“It puts the, in an economic terms because of the risk of a way that could come from these events, it was the livelihoods of other Australians at risk, people’s businesses, it was the progress we have been able to make at risk and the very clear message is that people should not attend those events because it is against the health advice to do so.

“And so I would strongly encourage people to exercise that responsibility by not attending those events and respect their fellow Australians by exercising the stability and on the views they wish to express, that they seek to express those in another way.

“This is not about the issue that people are raising, this is about people’s health and welfare and I would urge Australians to respect that by not attending those events.”