Sydney [Australia], June 6 (Sputnik/ANI): At least 15,000 people gathered in Australia's Sydney as organisers of 'Black Lives Matter' rallies against racism and police brutality have won a last-minute appeal to reverse a ban on holding the event over the pandemic, media reported on Saturday.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of New South Wales banned protests in Sydney scheduled for Saturday due to the existing COVID-19 restrictions, including the need to maintain social distance and limits on large public events.
However on Saturday, the New South Wales Court of Appeal gave the green light just 12 minutes before the rally was scheduled to start, meaning those taking part could not be arrested, reported The Washington Post.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, about 15,000 people had gathered in front of Sydney Town Hall for the 'Stop All Black Deaths in Custody' rally even before the ban was reversed.
The outlet also reported that earlier, police used pepper spray in a bid to disperse protesters, including minors, at Central train station and arrested several demonstrators heading for Victoria Park in Sydney. Protestors say that the police actions turned what was meant to be peaceful rallies into violent ones.
According to legal observers, up to 100 protesters were pepper-sprayed before police issued a formal move-on order over a loudspeaker, the newspaper added.
Though protests were peaceful and no arrests were made, police in the state of Victoria decided to fine rally organisers in Melbourne, as they breached coronavirus-related restrictions.
Peaceful protests in solidarity with George Floyd, an African-American man who died as a result of violence in Minneapolis police custody, kicked off on Saturday in major Australian cities, including Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne, gathering thousands of people. Organisers of the rallies called on the activists to wear face masks, use sanitisers and respect the social distancing rules, as the country is still combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The death of Floyd on May 25 has sparked a worldwide movement against police brutality, racism and social injustice, as a video showing a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck after the latter had been arrested was widely circulated online on the next day.
Apart from the United States, mass protests have taken place in Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, France, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other countries. (Sputnik/ANI)