Organisers of the Black Lives Matter rallies held in Melbourne and Sydney hailed both a success, saying they will continue pushing to stop racial profiling.
“We aimed to create awareness around Australia and I feel like our voices echoed even further than that,” one of the Melbourne rally organisers, Takara Allen, told The Newsroom.
“Our next move would be to work our way up and have changes made within the police force and justice system when it comes to racial profiling and racism within the force.”
More than 3000 people gathered at the State Library of Victoria and marched through Melbourne city centre on Sunday, following the Sydney CBD protest on Saturday, where hundreds marched from Town Hall to the United States Consulate in Castlereagh St.
The protestors echoed the sentiments of Black Lives Matter Movement and rallies held around the world, following the recent fatal shootings of unarmed black suspects by US police officers.
The deaths have sparked outrage throughout Australia and a link is being drawn between the treatment of African-Americans in the US and Indigenous Australians in police custody here.
Ms Allen told The Newsroom: “We are also here to raise awareness of police taking advantage of their position as they mistreat Indigenous Australians in custody. It’s not all of them but the bad ones needs to be stopped.”
Mounted police led the marchers along Swanston Street to Federation Square and a heavy police presence was visible throughout the city.
Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter!” and “No justice, no peace no racist police”. They carried banners that read: “All lives will matter when black lives matter” and several protesters waved Aboriginal flags.
A small group of masked protesters carrying signs and banners that read “Blue Lives Matter” also gathered outside the State Library before the rally. They accused the Black Lives Matter movement of being responsible for the deaths of US police officers in Dallas.
However both rallies were peaceful and no serious incidents took place.
Keisha Gibson, one of the organisers of the Sydney rally, told The Newsroom she wanted to “make Australia aware of what’s going on in their own backyard because it’s too constantly swept under the rug”.
“I want the murders to stop. Without equity we can’t have equality,” she said. – Story by Liela Boyd and Bakri Mahmoud. Video presented by Bakri Mahmoud and produced by Lisa Solinareos