Protesters gather in Canberra. Photo: Monique Harmer
Protesters gather in Canberra. Photo: Monique Harmer

Second Black Lives Matter protest planned for Toowoomba

THE organiser behind one of two Black Lives Matter protests planned for Toowoomba this weekend says he wants to see the end of racism against African Australians and Aboriginal people.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend two protests, one on Saturday at Laurel Bank Park from noon and one on Sunday at Queens Park at 2.40pm.

The events come amid worldwide protests and civil unrest after the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd while he was subdued heavily by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week.

Amol Santino.
Amol Santino. Contributed

Saturday protest organiser and former South Sudanese refugee Amol Santino said every member of his family had experienced racism at some point.

"It's been happening ever since I've been in Australia (in 2003)," he said.

"I have a lot of indigenous friends who are close to me (who have also experienced this).

"I'm speaking (up) on behalf of the African-Australian community and indigenous community, and all my black friends that have experienced different racial issues."

The Toowoomba protests will also focus on the deaths of Aboriginal Australians while in custody, along with the global issue of police brutality.

More than 430 indigenous Australians have died while in the hands of police or other law enforcement since 1991, a statistic widely reported in the media this week.

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Representative for the Darlo people of the Wakka Wakka nation Patricia Conlon said she hoped the protests would lead to real reforms around indigenous deaths in custody.

"Brother George (Floyd)'s incident in America has made people aware that racism and injustice is still alive and it's happening in 2020 here in Australia, in our own backyard," she said.

"So, what are we as a decent people or community going to do to stop this from happening in our own backyards?

"Doesn't matter what colour we are - we need to have love and respect for one another and need to address this as a community, together as one walking together for unity, equality and healing.

"We can't keep ignoring it and hoping it will go away."

Both protests are peaceful, with participants urged to practice social distancing and wear face masks while restrictions were still in place.

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