Organisers have cancelled a second planned mass anti-racism rally in Adelaide amid coronavirus restrictions as they prepare to meet the Premier to seek “change”.
As SA Health today revealed the state had recorded 15 days of zero COVID-19 daily cases, indigenous campaigners accepted an offer to talk to Steven Marshall about their ongoing concerns.
In the wake of a high profile Black Lives Matter protest attended by more than 6000 people in the CBD last Saturday, campaigners also widened their fight to call for “offensive” statues to be removed.
Their calls came as the Premier told The Advertiser he was “very open to meeting” with the rally’s organisers. He said he would continue to meet to discuss a raft of issues including aboriginal incarceration rates.
“I was very grateful that it was a peaceful rally,” he said.
“But I also am very keen to explore other options rather than just repeat rallies amid COVID restrictions. I plan to meet with the organisers over the coming weeks.”
The details emerged after Police Commissioner Grant Stevens announced a second protest planned for this Saturday was banned after he refused another exemption from virus rules.
His decision, based on advice from the state’s Transition Committee on Tuesday, meant any attendees risked a $315 fine or arrest if police directions were not followed.
The Adelaide protest – part of a global movement sparked by the death of black American George Floyd, 46, in Minneapolis – has attracted controversy and hypocrisy claims after Mr Stevens granted a special, one-off exemption from COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Mr Stevens, who is also the state co-ordinator under emergency management laws, has repeatedly defended his decision as the safest way to manage an “extraordinary” event in Victoria Square amid a mounting backlash from the business, artistic and sporting communities forced to abide by extensive lockdown rules.
Rally organiser, southern suburbs actor Natasha Wanganeen, 36, a mother-of-one, of Adelaide, said while she was overwhelmed by community support, this Saturday’s planned rally was now cancelled.
She welcomed a chance to talk with Mr Marshall about indigenous deaths and “attitudes towards Aboriginal Australians”. “We will talk about how we can make a difference,” she said last night.
“We will be discussing ways to change the issues facing Aboriginal Australians when it comes to deaths in custody and everything else we have fought for, spoken about and shed light over the past week – the same issues we have been fighting for generations.”
She called for the removal of “offensive” statues after several overseas monuments were either destroyed or vandalised.
Among her targets is the city-based statue of former premier Charles Cameron Kingston, who campaigners describe as racist. She said a statue of any indigenous”warrior” was more appropriate.
Australians could be given a vote on an indigenous ‘voice’ in the second half 2020, in the wake of the huge Black Lives Matters protests across the country. (AAP Video)
But Liberal Senator Alex Antic condemned such moves as “rewriting history”. He said: “I have no tolerance for these craven attempts to refuse people the opportunity to understand their history.”
The row came as a western suburbs grandmother told of her distress after being subjected to a “racist tirade”.
Mother of five, “Jean”, 70, of Wingfield, said she was racially abused by a couple outside an Arndale supermarket at lunchtime on Tuesday.
She said she verbally attacked after they wrongly thought she was littering.
“I have never experienced anything like it in my life,” she said.
The police were not called after the pair fled.
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