Wearing masks and carefully adhering to social distancing rules, hundreds packed into Perth’s CBD today to liken police brutality in the United States to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
People held placards with slogans saying “we can’t breathe” and “400 plus deaths in custody,” making reference to George Floyd, who died after a police officer held their knee on his neck during an arrest.
About a dozen police officers stood watch at the back of the crowd.
“The system is broken. It’s broken in America, it’s broken in Australia, it’s broken in Western Australia,” one protester chanted into a microphone.
“People are saying they’re scared to leave their houses because of the riots. That’s how black people feel all the time,” said another.
Protester Rikisha Riley told the crowd on stage of losing her four-year-old brother after he was hit by a car which she said was driven by a prison officer.
“We were left to grieve,” she said.
“I’m so proud I got to tell my story, and now it’s on the news, other people can hear my story.”
Part way during the protest, the crowd was asked to kneel on one knee. As the crowd knelt down, they chanted “Black Lives Matter”.
As the crowds grew closer together, they were urged to spread out again.
Protesters then marched onto the road. Samuel Pilot-Kickett said it was emotional to see people from all backgrounds protesting.
“This what I’ve been fighting for, for more than 10 years,” he said.
“I hope my kids never have to deal with this.
“You can feel the energy in the crowd. This is so important to me, being a young, Aboriginal man. So much support, so much love for our mob.”