(BBC) – An Australian court has banned a Black Lives Matter protest that was planned this weekend in Sydney, saying it posed a coronavirus health risk.
New South Wales (NSW) Police had sought a court order to halt it.
Thousands were expected to attend the rally in solidarity with US protests over the killing of George Floyd and to express anger over indigenous deaths in Australian custody.
Organisers say they are determined to go ahead with the protest.
Since the killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Australians have protested against their own country’s disproportionate number of black deaths in custody.
Australia has recorded about 7,200 cases of the coronavirus and rapidly flattened its curve since April. There have been no community transmissions in NSW for more than a week.
“Everybody has given up a lot in order to defeat this disease,” Justice Desmond Fagan said, ruling that health concerns outweighed the right to protest on this occasion.
“It’s not a time to throw out our caution,” he added.
However, Latona Dungay, whose son David died in prison in 2015, told AFP news agency: “We are going to march if they like it or not, because this is our land and nothing is going to stop any of us.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticised the planned protests on Friday, saying “don’t go”.
“Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments, rather than putting your own health at risk, the health of others at risk,” he said.
Demonstrations have already been held in cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.
Police in Melbourne have urged people not to attend a planned protest there, pleading with organisers to cancel the event and threatening to issue fines. However, in Brisbane and Adelaide, protests have received police approval.