Thousands turn out for Black Lives Matter protests in Australia

Thousands turn out for Black Lives Matter protests in Australia
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Thousands of people across Australia took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police last week.

Floyd was killed on May 25 when now-fired officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, continuing to do so until Floyd was unconscious. Bystander video shows Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe multiple times as Chauvin continued to press down on him.

In downtown Sydney, at least 1,000 people gathered to protest, The Associated Press reported. Protesters in the city won a last-minute legal battle, allowing them to demonstrate without fear of being arrested.

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Organizers in Brisbane reported that 30,000 demonstrators showed up, though local police estimated that number to be closer to 10,000, according to Reuters.

“Whether you’re talking about the U.S. or right here in Australia, black lives matter,” Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch told the AP. “Black lives matter today. Black lives matter every day.”

In Australia, the outlet noted, indigenous people make up 2 percent of the country's population but 27 percent of its prison population.

The most disadvantaged ethnic minority in Australia, indigenous people have above-average rates of infant mortality, lower levels of education and employment, and shorter life expectancies than other Australians.

Smaller protests also occurred in Seoul and Tokyo.

Protests were planned in Paris but were banned by police. Authorities pointed to COVID-19 concerns and fear of public unrest as reasons for the ban.