Police in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have warned Black Lives Matter protesters they could face potential arrest if they participate in “unauthorized gatherings.”
Rallies in support of Black Lives Matter and Australia’s Aboriginal Lives Matter movement are planned to take place across Australia on Friday.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said Thursday that police in the state had “not received formal notification of that event, so, therefore, it is deemed as unauthorized.”
Willing added: “Those that attend [unauthorized events] will not have the protections of the Summary Offences Act, so people can be moved on. People who are obstructing traffic or pedestrian movement can be subject to move-on directions. And, of course, that may well lead to arrests, if possible. We do not want to see that.”
Police have urged people to “abide by the current health orders,” citing the case of a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending a Black Lives Matter rally in Melbourne.
New South Wales authorities’ rules on public gatherings during the pandemic state that no more than 20 people should gather outdoors.
“Do not go to those rallies,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday.
“When it comes to the issue of gatherings and protests, the health advice says it put other Australians’ lives at risk, including, in particular, indigenous lives.”