Australians on Friday gathered at the capital to protest high levels of Aboriginal/Black incarceration and death in custody.
Protesters gathered at Garema Place to show solidarity with demonstrations across the U.S. sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, who died at the hands of police officers.
Demonstrators called for police around the world to stop targeting minorities. They chanted slogans, and held up banners and placards, with text reading “Silence is deadly”, “Aboriginal Lives Matter” and ”Black Lives Matter”.
Aboriginal elder Matilda House asked the crowd to “send a message to the government” about Aboriginal deaths in custody, incarceration, and racism in Australia.
“Aboriginal men and women have been taken from our lives and not once has it ever been explained, and they and all of us still can’t breathe.
“We still can’t breathe. Enough is enough. It’s not OK.” she said.
Tamara Ryan, one of the organizers, estimated more than 2,000 people participated in the rally. After the speeches, the crowd walked some four kilometres to protest in front of Parliament House.
In Australia, Indigenous youth remain massively over-represented in the justice system and were 22 times more likely to be in detention or justice supervision, according to a government report last month.
Also, Indigenous Australians make up 27 per cent of the prison population even though they are just 3 per cent of the country’s total population.
According to a 2018 government health report, about 20 per cent of people, who died in custody were Indigenous Australians.