SYDNEY • Thousands gathered in Sydney and other Australian cities over the weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and an increased focus on the mistreatment of indigenous people.
A month since Australia’s first such rallies, the crowds were smaller amid health warnings about the spread of the coronavirus, as infections grow in the state of Victoria, home to Melbourne, the second-largest city.
At the Sydney protest, masks and hand sanitiser were given out and organisers pleaded with people to maintain social distance.
An ancient Aboriginal smoking ceremony took place as families of those who have lost relatives while in police custody circled it.
Protests in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Perth and other cities the previous day also drew smaller crowds.
The heightened global awareness over the treatment of minorities as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States comes as Canberra conducts an inquiry into mining giant Rio Tinto’s destruction of two ancient and sacred Aboriginal caves in Western Australia.
According to latest government data, the indigenous population represents just over 3 per cent of Australia’s population of about 25 million.