Hundreds have marched through Sydney’s CBD in solidarity with those protesting in the US over the death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis.
Starting from Hyde Park about 5pm on Tuesday, the 500 people at the rally chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” as they weaved their way past NSW Parliament before arriving at Martin Place.
The protesters – most of whom wore masks – could also be heard chanting “always was, always will be Aboriginal land” as they simultaneously marched for the more than 400 indigenous Australians who have died in police custody since 1991.
Gadigal man Tristan Field, who spoke at the start of the Black Lives Matter rally in Hyde Park, commended organisers for putting black voices at the forefront of the action.
“This mob has let the black people lead this movement for the better,” Mr Field told AAP.
— Nova Peris OAM OLY (@NovaPeris) June 2, 2020
The 26-year-old said he wasn’t surprised by an incident in Surry Hills on Monday that saw an Aboriginal teenager taken to hospital after having his legs kicked out from beneath him as he was arrested.
“When I was a kid I got harassed by the police,” Mr Field said.
“I remember what it was like to live in fear and I know what it’s like to be scared that you might die.”
— cin (@cseenn) June 2, 2020
Another protester, Tegan Smith, said the arrest in Surry Hills “really hits home for me”.
“I have a younger brother the same age and every day I wonder if he’ll be the next one harassed by police,” the 23-year-old Aboriginal woman said.
“It’s scary and disgusting to be reminded police are doing this, even if it’s not surprising.”
Former Sydney Kings announcer and Australian basketball icon Rodney Overby, who grew up Philadelphia, said he regularly heard about incidents similar to the Surry Hills arrest in other parts of the world.
“That is news every day … it’s just because of this brother George being killed in the United States that people are arking up about it,” the 54-year-old told AAP.
“We’re coming together to say: ‘stop killing us’.”
NSW Police said no arrests were made at the rally.